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Learning how to use hearing aids is a bit like learning to ride a bicycle. Although most things seem straightforward and just fall into place naturally, the fact is that some things take getting used to. For one thing, your brain needs time to be retrained to recognise and process new sounds. As a result, you may find the experience a little unnatural at first – sounds can seem louder and environments, noisier than you’re used.
The good news is that you’ll soon be able to hear all those comforting, familiar sounds again, and fully participate in normal social conversation without difficulty – something worth keeping in mind as it will help motivate you to persevere through any initial hiccups.
In general, it takes around three to four weeks to adjust to using a hearing aid for the first time. To help you make the transition more smoothly, here are five useful hints:
1. Read the user manual! Rather like your new mobile phone, it really is a good idea to get to grips with all the functions and features of your new hearing aid if you want to make the most out of it. You may discover things that you might otherwise have missed, such as how to alter the settings on your device to handle different audio environments, or use the remote control that comes with some models. When in doubt, check with your audiologist.
2. Insert the battery into the correct compartment. If you aren’t sure how to open it, check the user manual. It is worth bearing in mind that batteries may not last as long as you think they will – many need charging every one to three days. To avoid running into problems, it is worth getting into the habit of recharging them regularly and carrying spares with you. Thanks to our ‘free batteries for life’ scheme, you should never have to worry about going without a fully working battery.
3. If you have a model that requires insertion into the ear canal, make sure that you put the correct ear piece into the appropriate ear – otherwise your hearings aids may not work properly. Many devices are marked with ‘L’ and ‘R’ for ‘left’ and ‘right’ – but some use a colour code, such as blue for left, and red for right. Check the manual if you are unsure at first. Ultimately, though, practice makes perfect.
4. It may take a number of goes before you are able to insert and remove your hearing aids effortlessly and find a comfortable fit. Using a mirror in the beginning can often help you position your device correctly. The key is not to force anything into position – not only can you cause damage to the device, but you may end up hurting your ears. If you notice any blood or fluid in your ears, something is wrong and you should consult your audiologist.
5. It is also normal to encounter common problems such as excessive ear wax – your audiologist will be able to advise you on how to deal with this effectively. However, if you experience whistling noises, ear ringing, volume oscillation or dizziness, contact your audiologist immediately, as your device could be in need of adjusting.
For free guidance on how to use your hearing aid, or to find out more about our free batteries for life scheme, visit our website or call us on 1800 818 808.