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Strange Household Sounds When Using A New Hearing Aid
As a new hearing aid user there will be lots of new sounds to explore. There will be objects you had forgotten made a sound and others that will sound completely different, all this just in your own home.
We look at how each room of the house will sound a little different:
Your kitchen is made of hard surfaces everywhere from the floor, the cupboards to the counter tops and work tops. This means that sound is reflected around the room, sounds here can be very echoey aswell as loud and harsh. Getting used to wearing your hearing aid can take time but it is worthwhile. Try balancing your time between the kitchen and somewhere with more soft furnishings such as your living room to ease the new sounds in gently.
If you have a high frequency hearing loss, a hearing aid will now be picking up sounds with a high pitch that you might had forgotten did that, especially in a kitchen in 2019 when there are a large number of electrionical devices from your oven, to dishwasher, washing machine or microwave. The boiling of your kettle, whether electric or one that is a stove top will have a classic whistle as it reaches boiling point. This will take time to get used.
Generally you will have a little more soft furnishiings in your dining room than your kitchen, possibly a carpet or rug, curtains and cushions, but there will still have the hard surfaces of table, chairs, even cupboards. Sounds will be a little bit echoney but will be absorbed slightly by soft furnishings.
The biggest challenges around the dining table will be battling with the combination of noisy clattering using the cutlery while people are chatting away. Serving dishes, the scraping of plates, clattering of plates, forks and knives, scratching plates and bowls will intially sound much harsher and pronounced than they used to be. This is because the frequencies increased to help boast clarity are also boasted for all sorts of unwanted sounds such as these. You may also notice your own eating will be louder than you're used to aswell, this is a normal experience that will disappear over time.
I would try using your hearing aid in your dining room without other people around the table a number of times before using it around the table with family there too. This will allow you to get used to the room acoustics and dining environment without having to be able to listen to conversations at the same time too. Once you have mastered being able to enjoyably use your hearing aid in a successful dining room situation with family or friends then you are ready to try it out in a quiet restuarant environment.
Your bathroom is a room that you should be wearing your hearing aid in the least. This is because of the amount of moisture and accidental opportunities to leave your hearing aid in when you have walked into the shower or got into the bath, hearing aids are not keen on water.
Scenarios where you will find yourself going into the bathroom however will be when you use your toilet, go to wash your hands, brush your teeth or check your appearance in the mirror. This means you still need to be aware and get used to bathroom sounds.
You may hear loud footsteps on bathroom tiles, the closing of the door may sound loud but the most dinstinguised features will be that of your toilet sounding like a waterfall, or running water from a tap. This is because similar to white noise you have a large array of different frequencies in the flushing and running of water and your brain will be suddenly hear all of these loudly and clearly. The more you wear your hearing aid, your toilet will soon be less noisy and intimidating.
The living room is the centre of the home. It will generally be the space with the most soft furnishings. Sound will be absorbed much more here therefore your hearing aid shouldn't be particularly echoey. It might however be quite a busy place of your house when people visit or if you have children. The TV might be on, children playing or fighting, different games might make noises.
If you enjoy watching television then this a perfect opportunity to try out your hearing aid. The clarity of conversations on the TV should be much improved. The voices may sound tinny and a little artifical but this is a good thing and you will adapt to this. What will take a little more time will be other activites going on around you, your hearing aid will naturally focus on what is happening in front of you. If people are talking next to you they may be loud and distracting from the TV sounds or your hearing aid may have lowered them a little due to not thinking they are your main focus.
You may have decorations within your living room that also make sounds that you forgot they did. Such as a tick tock from your favourite wall hanging clock, this may sound more like a beating drum. You might have a log burning fire and now be able to appreciate the ambience of the fire not only by its appearance but with its distinct roaring fire sound.
One of the quietest spots of the house (unless your partner snores!). This is a great space to practice with your hearing aid and provide your hearing aid with a designated spot to place it while you sleep. You don't want to wear your hearing aid through the night, it would be too uncomfortable and also gives your ear time to breathe and save hearing aid batteries. It is worthwhile to leave your hearing aid even if just sat in bed for a little while reading a book for example you'll pick up the turn of each page, even listening to your partner while the rain hits the window outside helps your brain to adapt to the smallest of background sounds. If your partner uses a different alarm time to get up than you, just be aware this will be pretty alarming with a new hearing aid in.
It can be a common mistake to only put a hearing aid in when needed however getting used to sounds in the quiestest of environments is just as powerful in getting used to hearing aid sounds as that of noisier rooms.
Why Should You Get Used To The Small Sounds
It is recommended to get used to your hearing aid at home before adventuring out into the outdoors and public places. This is because your home is your safe place, somewhere you feel at ease and most comfortable. It is also because aclimitising to your hearing aid at home first means that you will have gotten a little used to what your hearing aid does, feel more prepared and less stressed, know what to expect from sounds through your hearing aid and overall able to hear better in these situations.