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Hearing aids are not an instant fix!

There, I said it.

We call them "Hearing aids" for a reason: they help us to hear better, but the devices themselves are only part of the solution and alone they can not simply restore your hearing back to normal levels.

Getting the right hearing aid for you is certainly a big step, they vary in quality, style and price but those variables are for another day and another blog.

What I really want to talk about is the rehabilitation process. When we say rehab we automatically think of drug or alcohol addiction but in this case its related to hearing loss and the following steps in my view are equally or possibly even more important than the hearing aid itself.

  • Accepting the loss. In the same way that you would accept any other diagnosis, arthritis for example. Sounds simple doesn't it? But you wouldn't believe how many people I see for hearing assessments because a family member has noticed the hearing loss but the patient themselves can not yet see a problem. If your not at that point yet that's OK, it can be daunting but until you've reached this stage I can almost guarantee a hearing aid won't help you.

  • Expect a 3 month settling in period. Once you've had your assessment and chosen your hearing aids this is not the end of your journey, in fact its just the beginning! Imagine that your hearing test results become a prescription which gets inputted into the hearing aids and can then be tweaked to suit you. My preferred method (for first time users and anyone who has had a bad experience previously)is to start off with a reduced prescription, perhaps 70% and then gradually increase over time.

  • Expect to dislike the way they sound initially! It will improve over time I promise! Alot of the rehab process involves retraining your brain to 'listen' differently, the longer or more severe your hearing loss is the longer this process can take, but on average 3 months.

  • Wear the hearing aids all the time. For a start at least. I often see patients who only get the hearing aids out of the drawer when attending a big family function with lots of noise and chatter. This is a complex listening environment for both the hearing aid and the wearer. It's much easier to handle if your comfortable with the aids and have built up wear time in less complex environments, for example watching the TV at home.

In short, hearing aids can massively increase your quality of life, they can allow you to communicate with loved ones and enjoy a social life but not without some initial effort and perseverance on your part and on mine (or whoever your Audiologist may be).

Good luck with your journey to hearing better!

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