Overwhelmed...feelings

Hello-

I haven’t posted before, so I hope that this is okay. I have recently been fitted with hearing aids after many years of having a mild hearing loss with it drastically decreasing to a more moderate/severe loss over the last few years. Anyway, I finally realized how much it was impacting me both professionally (PhD student) and socially (also 24).

I am having trouble dealing with the emotions of my new “ears.” It is exciting and overwhelming at the same time. I have heard things for the first time in years–not sure if I ever heard some of them before. And, behind me for the first time. I’ve had to process all this new information and I just don’t know what to do with it. I’ve LOVE hearing at the same time.

I can’t really explain…I’ve used all my knowledge in a similar PhD field to attempt to understand these, but it has not.

I guess I’m looking for suggestions on how to get over the overwhelmness?

Really, the only way to get used to HAs is to just wear them and use them. Eventually, your brain will learn to process all of these new inputs until they become second nature to you. The background noises that may feel overwhelming now will fade into the background, for the most part, as they should.

This is not to suggest, however, that tweaks and changes to your HAs won’t help to ease this transition. Many of today’s instruments are amazingly complex in their programming. Make your audiologist your best friend. Keep copious notes on those sounds and/or situations that overwhelm you. And be patient. Continue to ask questions here, if you need to. There are many folk willing and able to assist you in any way they can.

I’ve had my new and first time hearing aids for two weeks today and I can tell you that I felt the same way. I was happy and sad, concerned and thrilled, angry and excited. It was great to hear, but there was so darned much to hear that I was overwhelmed a bit too.

But, last night, when I took my HA’s out to go to bed I realized something. My natural hearing now sounds weird to me and my HA assisted hearing sounds normal. Without my aids everything sounds muffled, quiet and a bit distorted. With them, things seem natural. I’m not sure when exactly I got to that point, I just realized it all at once that it had happened.

I have an appointment with the audiologist tomorrow and I’m going to have her tweak my left ear (my worse loss is in the left) to see if she can boast up the power in that ear. I certainly still hear much better in my right and I need the left HA tweaked to be more in balance, even if not perfectly synched. We’ll see how that goes. My biggest fear is that this is the right HA for my right ear, but that I’ll have to look at another option for the left. I don’t have anymore money to spend, so if that’s the case, it better be the same or cheaper!!!

No worries…what you are going through is perfectly normal…at least it was for me.

When I first started wearing hearing aids I found I would get very tired if I tried to wear them all day. It helped to just take them out for awhile. I wore them esepecially in siturations where they helped the most. I used headphones for music. Keep going. It does get better.

Let me give you an idea of how I was told to wear my ver first pair of hearing aids many years ago. First go home and only wear them in the house. Not necessarily even turned on at the very beginning. Just get used to wearing them in your ears. Do it for a couple days, one or two hours at a time, then take them out. After a couple of days turn them on but again just in the house, hopefully a fairly quiet house, not with the tv blasting. Maybe after another couple of days take them into work, wear them there, take them out periodically to give yourself a break. The whole point to this is to break in your new aids slowly, especially for first time wearers. You have gotten used to a much quieter world, whether you realize it or not. Now suddenly you are being bombarded with sound. It will take time to adjust, the brain needs time to adjust. Go slow, things will eventually quiet down.