Dear Anna: I had normal hearing until about age 65, and now my audiologist tells me I have a moderate hearing loss of about 30 percent. I still feel like I can here fine, except when people are behind me or I’m in a loud public place. If I get a hearing aid, would it restore my hearing back to normal? – Jenny in Illinois
Hearing aids will never restore your hearing back to “normal,” but they can make things a lot easier to hear in many different listening situations. Modern hearing aids are very good at being able to adapt to your listening needs.
The important thing to remember when getting your first pair of hearing aids, is that unlike eyeglasses, which can produce instant results, it takes time to adjust to hearing aids. Hearing aids ask your brain to process sounds it hasn’t heard in a long time – or ever. Be patient and give yourself at a month or two acclimatize. Try out your hearing aids in different situations and note where you hear well and where it might be more challenging. If certain listening environments never seem to improve over time it could be an indication that your hearing aids might need adjusting for those specific environments.
Also, don’t be afraid to go back to your audiologist or hearing care professional to make adjustments. You might find that in some situations you’d like extra adjustments, or hearing aid accessories, to make your listening situations better. This can make an especially big impact for musicians or people who spend time in loud spaces. Your audiologist will be able to make these adjustments and discuss with your how your hearing aids work in various situations.
The good news: most people who stick with their hearing aids have higher hearing satisfaction than before they used the technology.
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