Tips for Easier Communication – For the New Technology User
The decision to use amplification to treat hearing loss is a great step in the right direction, but it is not the end of the journey. The first few days and weeks are critical to the successful fitting of a hearing system. Here are a few tips to keep in mind during this important time.
Adjusting to your new technology takes time, patience, and ongoing assessment. At first, your hearing system may not sound normal. In fact, your own voice may sound strange or hollow. You will also begin to hear many sounds you have been missing, such as footsteps in a hallway, the voices children and some women, and even your turn signal clicking in your car. You may also experience sounds that are unpleasant. By documenting your observations, we will be able to readjust your technology to reduce the occurrence of these situations. Remember, losing your hearing was a gradual process and it will take time for your brain to adjust and hear the sounds you’ve been missing.
This will help your auditory system properly adjust and adapt to the new way you will hear sounds. Do not be dismayed if at first you cannot understand low voices or hear a conversation clearly in a noisy environment. Some sounds could seem excessively loud, such as cars on a busy street, the screech of an electric can opener, the motor in your refrigerator, music from your stereo, and even the clanking the silverware in a drawer. However, your technology can be programmed to filter out a majority of the unwanted noise. Please do not wear your technology while sleeping, bathing, or swimming as it will cause damage to the system.
If your hearing loss is severe or has developed over a long period of time, the absence of sound may have become a part of your daily lifestyle. When first utilizing technology, you will hear sounds that have not been heard in quite some time. Initially, these sounds may be confusing, but with time and practice, your brain will learn to interpret those sounds into comprehensive words you can understand. Your technology is designed to emphasize speech sounds, which will initially cause non-speech sounds to seem altered and unfamiliar. It takes practice to select the type of sounds you want to hear in different environments. At your follow-up appointments, your AudigyCertified™ professional will be able to readjust your technology to significantly reduce the presence of non-speech sounds.
Adjustments are Normal
As your auditory system adjusts to amplification, it is perfectly normal to need frequent adjustments. We often find that after a few weeks our patients need more sound than they did at the first fitting. Sometimes they need less. The important thing is that we work with you find a comfortable level of audibility, no matter how many times we need to adjust and tweak your technology.
Tips for Easier Communication – For Family and Loved Ones
As friends and loved ones, we often assume that hearing aids “fix” hearing loss. The fact of the matter is that hearing loss is a permanent impairment. While the most sophisticated technology on the market can certainly help fill in the gaps created by hearing loss, the damage to the auditory system cannot be fixed, especially if your loved has lost some of the ability to discriminate speech sounds. The following are a few tips you can follow to help when communicating with your loved one.
- Reduce background noise whenever possible. Turn of the television, radio, air conditioner, etc. Understand some situations are more difficult than others, such as in the car, in background noise, etc.
- Face your loved one directly.
- Get on their level. If they are sitting, have a seat. Stand when they stand.
- Face the source of light. Do not have the light behind you or in your loved one’s face.
- The intensity of your voice significantly decreases over a distance. Try to be within four feet of your loved one. Refrain from talking from another room.
- Get your loved one’s attention before you speak.
- Speak in a normal fashion. Shouting distorts your speech, making it even more difficult to understand.
- Keep your hands away from your face while you are talking.
- Refrain from doing extraneous things like eating, drinking, chewing gum, etc. This makes your speech difficult to understand.
- If your loved one is having difficulty understanding something you are saying, rephrase the sentence. Repeating the misunderstood word will only lead to frustration.
- Recognize listening for someone with a hearing loss is hard work! They will have a harder time when they are tired or feeling ill.
- It takes time and practice to adjust to hearing technology use. Your loved one has to work at learning to hear sounds again.
- Hearing technology is not indestructible. It is a tiny computer placed in an environment that is extremely hostile to electronics (the ear!). It is common for hearing technology to fail if it is not cared for and cleaned regularly.
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