New to hearing aids- overwhelmed by noise

I just got my first hearing aid today. I thought it would be a sense of relief once I put the HA in but it’s a little overwhelming. The audi will work me up to my full prescrition over the course of a couple weeks or so. But it is a little disorienting today.

My question is, was the transition difficult for anybody? And how long did it take you to get used to your aids?

Yes it is strange to overwhelming for everyone…as you have no idea what you have been missing. It has been 25 years or so since I got my first aids, but one goes through some of the adjustment every time one gets a more powerful aid…which for me is about once every five years. For the first week everything is strange/interesting/annoying or some combination thereof. After that, assuming you ware them most of the time, it will be just a few things…paper crumpling, a bus passing, a high pitched rattling in the car. After a month you will not notice anything usual. Me, I have always gone full strength from the start… embrace how absolutely weird it is and go through the transition faster. I know others who never made it past the breaking in phase and are still going around saying “WHAT”. For me that was not really an option as my hearing is progressive and now nearly profound. The end advice…ya it is strange for everyone…but over time it become quite normal and your then much better off…you get some of the sound back you have been missing and your brain adjusts…give it some time. A week maybe two, you will be mostly adjusted.

Your audi should have given you instructions how to break in your new aids. Just putting them in and wearing them in all types of environments will definitely be overwhelming, and for many the quick road to tossing them in the drawer. At the beginning you should limit the time you wear them. You should also try wearing them in a quieter environment, like at home before you take them outside. You need to adjust to them gradually, and your brain needs to adjust to all the new sounds it is now hearing. Slow and steady is the trick here. Some people will tell you how they just stuck them in their ears from day one and just dealt with it and finally got used to it. Bravo for them. But why subject yourself to that when it’s not necessary. Slow adaptation will have you wearing your aids full time within 2 weeks without all the stress. Again, why didn’t your audi explain this to you.

thank you both so much. that really does help

Usually the longer you have had an uncorrected hearing loss the more challenging you will find it to get used to your hearing aids. That said, you have 2 of the most important ingredients there: Determination to make a good job of it and an audiologist who is working up your prescription gradually. Part of the difficulty can be that for all sorts of reasons we want to rush into wearing the aids full time everywhere, whether you want to get the most out of a short trial period, your relatives are so pleased you have finally done something they now expect you to wear the aids all the time, employers likewise.

Most adjustment schemes recommend you start by sitting quietly around the house with your hearing aids for a few hours. For the first little while most fitters recommend you take them off to go outside in a busy street. Work your way up to the more challenging environments, don’t expect to be able to tolerate your new hearing walking along the side of the street or in a busy restaurant in the first week or so.

You might also benefit from doing some work that actively focusses on hearing and listening. Put things on the computer and TV to challenge yourself to listen to the content as best you can. I have used a few cochlear implant rehabilitation programs on the computer, as their progressive nature with ability to give you a score afterwards shows you how you are doing. This one is not all that thrilling in terms of content, and may well be too easy for you, but it’s very controllable for you to be able to state how challenging you want it to be. If you pick lots of background, fast talking, turn the volume down low, and choose a speaker in a pitch you find difficult it is really hard!

When you have relied on other clues for a long time you forget the skills of hearing and listening, you need some time to get these back, so be mindful of your expectations and those of others, who may wonder why you can’t just strap on a couple of hearing aids and immediately not be HOH any more.

Keep a note of what you struggle with, it will really help the audi in future adjustments if you can be quite clear about what you found difficult. You get there on the day and find you can’t remember or explain it properly! It may be that the first hearing aid you try just isn’t the right one for you, so assuming you are still in a trial period be open to the idea of swapping to a different one. They may be the same “on paper” specification, but just as some people like one entertainment system better than the next one the same with hearing aids, what I can’t stand you might like. Only you have your hearing, you are the one to say.

Thank you so much Rose. That was very helpful and gave me some ways to feel optimistic and empowered.

I wore the HA for about 3 hours yesterday, mostly at home. And when I put it in this morning it already felt less jarring. To be fair to my audi she DID tell me that i may want to start out with wearing them for a couple hours then build up. But when she continued to say I am so young (nice lady) and that I would adjust quickly, etc I thought for sure I’d do better. So I told her I’d be fine to increase the power a little bit from her original setting. I was so excited to hear more. Looking back I should have taken a smaller first step

But I am still very excited about how this will turn out . I am very glad I chose to address my hearing loss and find a solution w the help of some good drs.

It has been just under a week since I got me new HA and I am already pretty used to it. I actually enjoy being able to put it in my ear when I wake up :slight_smile:

I’ll see the audi next week to increase the aid’s power to my full prescription.

When my daughter got her aid she got some karmic retribution. A screechy baby, a shrill kid, I blame her for some of my hearing loss–she was in the child care center with her brand new aid when the other girls started practicing cheer leading. She fell totally apart in tears.

So if you haven’t collapsed in tears, you’re doing well.

Getting your first hearing aids is definitely a BIG deal. I was jumpy and grumpy as hell for probably a week or so when started wearing hearing aids. Many sounds were not just loud but seemed (at first) to be absolutely the most horridly annoying things possible. Especially things that beep: the microwave, trucks with backup alarms, my car reminding me to take keys from the ignition, etc.

Processing all that new (and initially annoying) sound had other effects on my life too. It seemed my brain was so busy working all this stuff out that my attention span was just SHOT. I’d forget why I walked into a room, leave things behind, etc. And at the end of the day I had a bit of a headache and was exceptionally tired. I slept well in the peace and quiet of having the aids out!

One thing though: definitely talk to your audie about noises that HURT. Clinking dishes, doors slamming, sirens, that sort of thing. The audie can turn down those fast-attack noises, but beware you may want some of that back again later because sometimes this will also affect speech recognition (some consonants are also fast-attack high pitched noises).

Be aware of how all these changes in YOUR life and attitudes affect friends and family and coworkers too. Explain to them what’s going on. Just when I’d gotten everyone trained to (mostly) look at me and enunciate better, my hearing aids started helping with speech recognition, and changed some of my comfort zones …

Enjoy your new aids as much as you can!

thanks quux! There are some noises that took more getting used to, as you mentioned. And it IS tiring for my brain. Aside from yesterday evening when I wasn’t enjoying the HA, it has been better each day. I assume there are just going to be some “off” days where me and the HA don’t get along so well?

Liz-haha! Each day without tears is a winning day!

Everyone reacts differently. A lot of folks end up sticking their aids in a drawer. But then a different lot of folks end up getting along famously with their hearing aids - I know I did. So yeah, off days suck, but hang in there if you can. The less you can understand people, the more you’re an outsider, and for many of us, that sucks worse than a few off days during the acclimatization and adjustent process.


Wow! I’ve got my first pair and I’ve loved mine since the moment I put them in my ears:)!

:)! that’s great. i definately enjoy them and it IS much better than without them

The first time I put in an Oticon aid, I loved it. I wanted to try something less expensive so tried a Siemens Pure 500 (both were set automatically to my audiogram). The Pure made sounds like running water and kids screaming unbearable and even though it got better, it never sounded good to me. I then trialed an Oticon Dual XW and absolutely loved it (but not the price) My audiologist mapped the settings of the dual and recreated them with the Pure but I still didn’t like the sound. So now I am using a Phonak Audeo YES IX and am doing really well with it. It is less expensive with the Oticon because I get a discount on it. Hopefully you adjust edawn and sounds are starting to sound natural.

“Processing all that new (and initially annoying) sound had other effects on my life too. It seemed my brain was so busy working all this stuff out that my attention span was just SHOT. I’d forget why I walked into a room, leave things behind, etc. And at the end of the day I had a bit of a headache and was exceptionally tired. I slept well in the peace and quiet of having the aids out!”

Wow…did I write that or did QUUX read my mind?

Either way, I’ve had my new (first) HA for just under a month and Friday hit a wall. I had been wearing them all day every day in all environments and my brain was constantly hungover.

While out walking in traffic on Friday the noise really got to me and I thought; “this is stupid, I don’t need to hear all this noise right now” so shut the aids off. I left them off the rest of the day and had no more hang over. So I started thinking the best way to go is put them in but don’t turn them on until I need them…turn them off when I don’t.

After reading this thread, and how it seems most folks go through some suffering (ok, some will call it a period of adjustment) I really wonder how wise it is to use these things on an “as needed” basis.

Edited question…this forum format is new to me and I can’t figure how to get the “quote” into the shaded box like the others.

I have been wearing aids for 5 years. I am on my second pair, the first pair were so bad that I could not stand to be in public or even in the car the sounds were so loud. The audi I had then finally gave up and said he had done all he could to adjust the aids. I moved so I found another audi and she tried to adjust the aids and finally gave in and called the reps for the aids and they tried and tried to make adjustments.
I had applied for my VA benifits for service related hearing loss and the ringing in my ears, this took almost a year to get. Then I went to the VA and was given the aids that I am now using that was almost 4 years ago. They had the problem at first but the VA never gave up and after adjustments by 3 or 4 different audis at the VA my aids are wonderful, and I say that compared to having no aids. I am know waiting for my third pair of aids, seeing with the VA I get new aids ever 4 years. This time I am getting RITE aids, the ones now are ITE half shells. I am very lucky my hearing has not changed and seems to be very stable.
I guess what I am saying that the right setup can be reached and it is a componation of your brain adjusting to the aids and correct aids and adjustments. Do not give up and keep pushing for the comfort you need.
It may be that the aids you have just needs to be adjusted for that sweet spot or it may be that you have the wrong aids for your hearing needs.
Also you have to understand that the audis are reading and trying to adjust the aids to your audiogram, and is depending on you to explain what is going on with you and the aids and also your daily routines and needs. Be willing not to give up and fight for you comfort and your right to hear to the best possible with aids and your hearing loss. Will you ever hear like any one with good hearing and no loss, no at least the tech is not there yet maybe in the future.

Just my 2 cents

What has been rather noticeable for me is how quickly I have lost the compensatory skills, where I used to be able to put the TV on without my hearing aids and struggle through a TV show with no subtitles, now it just sounds like they are delivering the dialogue under water. No idea how I managed all that time!

I do keep having to have sound breaks still, and I am several months in, it’s just that others have had years to get used to all this so it’s a bit much to expect that it will sort in a matter of weeks. My husband has been learning to filter out unwanted noise since he was born, and he thinks of sitting in the kitchen with just the hum of the boiler and the purr of the fridge as “quiet” yet I can’t believe how much noise these things make!

Yes it does take time for me I believe it took about 2 yrs before my aid felt as a normal part of me.