by Neil Bauman, Ph.D.
A lady wrote,
I just want to thank you for your great website. I’ve had hearing aids for 3 days and yours has been the best site I’ve found to explain what I’ve been feeling. Noises are overwhelmingly loud! I’m short-tempered and my head hurts trying to get accustomed to the hearing aids.
If this is happening then two things are wrong. First, and I don’t like to have to say this, but you have a hearing aid dispenser that either doesn’t know how to fit hearing aids properly, is ignorant of your needs as a hard of hearing person, is too lazy to do the job properly, or has a total lack of respect for you as a hard of hearing person.
She set your hearing aids to the proper level you need for your hearing loss (which seems logical and the right thing to do)—but the way she did it is wrong. If you have a significant hearing loss, It needs to be done in stages.
This is because your brain needs time to adjust to louder sounds. Your hearing aid dispenser should have set the volume to somewhat below where you need it and told you to get used to the louder sounds, then come back in a week or so and have the volume adjusted a bit louder and then come back in another week or so for some more and by that time you should be pretty well adjusted to your new hearing aids without having noise overload and getting headaches.
The other thing she did wrong was telling you to wear your new hearing aids all the time from the get-go. A better way is to start gradually—especially if the volume is set to where you need it—not increased gradually over time as I suggested above. If you haven’t already done so, read my article, “Becoming Friends with Your New Hearing Aids. It explains how to go about this. Some wise audiologists actually give this article to every one of their new hearing aid wearers.
Either way, following these two suggestions will make it ever so much easier to get used to wearing your new hearing aids.