The new hearing aids your loved one has just started wearing represent a major positive step toward a richer, more rewarding lifestyle.
However, like most health care treatments, the change is gradual and can be quite challenging in the initial stages of adjustment.
Your support and encouragement are crucial in this process, setting the tone for the future of your loved one’s hearing aid use and their benefits.
Here are some tips for the loved ones of Maryland residents fitted with new hearing aids to help them navigate their way through this exciting and challenging period.
The more you know about the process of hearing, hearing loss, and hearing aids, the more effective you will be when it comes to supporting your loved one with their new hearing aids.
Understanding that the brain made adjustments in how it processed sound as your loved one’s hearing capacity deteriorated, compensating by increasing sound sensitivity.
The shock of sudden amplification of sound by new hearing aids in this hypersensitive environment is painful, causing stress, headaches, tension, and other reactions.
Working through this discomfort to take advantage of the benefits of hearing aids requires extra support and encouragement.
Maintain a Supportive and Compassionate Attitude
As you educate yourself and understand what your loved one is going through, it is necessary to take on a supportive and compassionate attitude.
This type of attitude includes understanding that the changes are not instant, which can be frustrating to your loved one, who has placed his or her hope in achieving better hearing through hearing aids.
Understanding those frustrations while using your compassion to encourage your loved one to keep moving forward with the treatment is critical.
Along with being helpful, a compassionate attitude includes patience as you and your loved one work toward their better hearing objective.
Focus on Realistic Expectations
The typical adjustment period for new hearing aids can last anywhere from a few weeks up to four months, depending on the severity of the hearing loss and how each individual tolerates adjustment.
You cannot expect an instant change, and you should use realistic expectations to set realistic goals as you assist your loved one through the process of getting used to challenges like:
- his or her own voice
- the discomfort of the foreign device to skin and muscles around the ears
- irritation of amplified sounds like traffic, the buzzing of the refrigerator motor, chirping crickets
- learning how to maintain and troubleshoot the device itself
Help with Practice and Rest
One of the best ways to support the adjustment period is to encourage your loved one to practice using the device while taking periodic breaks. This is where setting realistic time goals are necessary.
Your objective is to increase the length of time your loved one wears the device while decreasing the amount of time and frequency of the rest periods.
Eventually, your loved one can work up to wearing them all or most of the day. Some additional tips to keep in mind include:
- having your loved one read aloud to help adjust to their own voice sooner
- making use of massage, lotions, and other remedies for skin and muscle irritation during rest periods
- start the process at home with more familiar sounds and noise levels before tackling the outside world
Audiology Associates Provide Support to Loved Ones
Though adjusting to hearing aids is quite a challenge, their benefits are numerous.
Your loved one will enjoy greater independence and more rewarding quality of life, and you can be a positive part of that journey.
The team at Audiology Associates understands the challenges of adjusting to hearing aids as a patient and as a loved one of a patient, and we are eager to help any way we can.
If your loved one is experiencing challenges during this time, encourage them to visit their hearing care expert for advice and feel free to contact us for additional support.