Everyone here at True Hearing Health agree’s on one thing.
Being an audiologist is an extremely rewarding career!
It is a profession that allows you to make positive improvements not only for the people we help with their hearing, but their families and society in general.
However having said that if we were to be completely forthright, the profession of audiology does come with one frustrating challenge.
Getting people who are new to hearing aids past the natural adjustment period they first encounter.
While hearing loss can (and sometimes does) happen suddenly, for the majority of people it is a progressive thing that happens over years, if not decades.
Humans have a natural ability to adapt to their circumstances, so when something happens slowly over an extended period of time, our brains learn to “forget” those changes.
Put another way, when something happens gradually you don’t notice it as much as you would if it had happened suddenly.
For example, if your hearing has been decreasing for the last 25 years, unbeknownst to you your car turning signal has been getting quieter and quieter for the entire period of time. Your hearing may have deteriorated to the point that you don’t even hear it any longer, or just barely do, and that is “normal” to you.
Then, one day all of the sudden you get hearing aids and boom, your turning signal is pronounced and present!
For some people it can be jarring.
When you multiply this to the countless other sounds that have been fading into the background (just like your car turning signal) when people first get hearing aids, there is a lot of “new” audible activity suddenly going on.
The simple act of opening a window to let some fresh air in, also invites in a barrage of bird chirps.
Visiting children, or grand children also bring voices that are suddenly much louder and more prevalent then they were before.
The air conditioner motors hum is endless and unavoidable.
All of those sounds that have been slowly fading into the background years and maybe even decades ago come racing back… at once.
While this is wonderful, it can also be overwhelming at first.
And this is where the frustration we mentioned at the outset of this article comes into play. People new to hearing aids can find these every day sounds harsh.
One of the things people need to acclimate to is the reintroduction of sounds they either haven’t heard for years, or haven’t heard with the same clarity and intensity.
It is healthy for your brain to go through an adjustment period and get used to being more active again.
The good thing is that if we can get people over that hump of adjustment, the agitation or harshness quickly goes away and you are just left with all the amazing sounds you may or may not have been aware you were missing.
How long does it take to get past this?
Naturally each case is different and can be affected by your sensitivity levels, how long your hearing has been negatively impacted and a variety of other factors, but for most people it ranges anywhere from a few weeks to a few months.
While this can be a lot at first, once we get past that acclimation period, we soon enough we have patients gushing about all the “new” sounds they are hearing again.
You will too!