What to Expect from Hearing Aids
Improved Ability to Understand Others
The reason most people buy hearing aids is to better understand others, especially in noisy places. With hearing aids you should expect to hear and understand voices (including whispers) in all types of environments, even noisy ones. Voices should never sound tinny, harsh, raspy, sharp, distorted, boomy, muffled, or artificial. You should also be able to understand voices through the telephone without experiencing feedback (whistling sounds).
A Natural Sound to Your Own Voice
You should hear your own voice normally. It should never sound gravelly, tinny, harsh, raspy, distorted, boomy, muffled, or artificial, unless that is the way you sound to others. You should not hear yourself with an echo nor sound as if you are “in a barrel.”
You will also hear your own whispers, breathing, and chewing. These sounds should all sound normal, or after a short period of time become familiar and unnoticeable. If they do not become unnoticeable, something is wrong. Please report it to us.
A Familiar Experience of Common Sounds
When you are wearing hearing aids, all things should sound as you expect them to sound. Paper should sound like paper, not like sheet metal. When dishes knock into each other, they should sound sharp, bright and clear, not dull or irritating. Water coming from the faucet should sound like water, not Niagara Falls.
You should expect to hear the full tonal range of musical instruments without distortion. You should also be able to hear echoes, but not in places or rooms where you wouldn't expect to hear them. Although you may not have heard many common sounds clearly for a long time, they should be familiar. If something seems unusual, report it and we will correct it.
The perceived intensity and distance of all sounds should be the same for you as for a person with normal hearing. Nothing should sound too intense or too soft, too close or too far. The woman talking normally next to you should not sound like she is whispering or yelling. A screaming child twenty feet away should not sound two feet or fifty feet away from you.
Also, the amount of sound you hear should be proportional to what is happening around you. For example, a room containing fifty people should sound like it contains fifty people, not two hundred people. If the distance, intensity, and/or quantity of sounds seem unusual, your hearing aids need adjustment.
Every part of your hearing aid must be comfortable. You should not feel plugged up and you should not experience pressure or discomfort of any kind. Your hearing aids should not move or whistle when you chew or smile.
Control of Background Noise
Hearing aids should help you distinguish speech sounds from the noise around you. Separating speech from noise requires careful tuning of the hearing aid at our office and some active control by you. Most importantly, it requires passive learning, neuroplasticity. This involves learning to focus your attention on a speaker and the development of disregard for background noise.
Please be patient, it can take some time for this learning to occur. Expect the length of your adjustment period to be proportional to the amount of change in your hearing and to your age.
The first priority is improving your ability to hear speech. However, the appearance of the hearing aids is important and should be acceptable to you. The hearing aids should be inconspicuous and blend nicely with your hair and skin.
Expected Sound Localization
Once your hearing aids are properly tuned, you should soon be able to tell where a sound is coming from. If someone is standing to your right, they should sound as if they are standing to your right, not anywhere else. This balance enhances your ability to focus on one speaker in the presence of noise and other sounds. If you are having difficulty with sound localization, bring your hearing aids in for adjustment.
Continued Support Services
We are dedicated to helping you achieve your best possible hearing experience. Please contact us whenever you think your hearing aids may need adjustment or if you have any questions or concerns.
Please note: The physical type and degree of hearing and understanding deficiencies an individual has will place limits on the amount of improvement possible. While those deficiencies may limit your personal degree of success, you should not limit your aspirations or expectations. The actual effects of those deficiencies will be shown to be either truly limiting or surmountable during the trial period.
Also, if we cannot achieve the results described above, then we should be able to both show and explain why these results cannot be achieved for you. Finally, if we say that a hearing aid challenge requires adjustment and learning on your part, you will be provided with ample time to guarantee that the adjustment and learning occurs before you have to commit to keeping the hearing devices.