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Getting used to new sounds

The human ear is a truly remarkable organ for picking up sound. But it is the brain that translates all the sound information into what we perceive as hearing. Therefore it is not just the ears, but also the brain that needs time to become accustomed to distinguishing new sounds.

When wearing a hearing aid for the first time or when changing from one type of hearing aid to another, focus is often on the many everyday sounds that are amplified by the hearing aid. You may notice that soft sounds (for example the ticking of a clock, a refrigerator’s humming or distant traffic noise) seem unnaturally loud. Keep in mind that some of these new sounds might not have been audible to you before.

The sound of your own voice

The sound of your own voice will, like many other sounds, appear unnatural when you first start wearing a hearing aid. One reason for this is to be found in the hearing loss itself, another in the hearing aid or earmould filling up space in the ear canal. All in all, the sound of your own voice will sound different, as a result of being processed by the hearing aid.

Chewing and swallowing sounds appear too loud

Many hearing aid users are surprised at how loud sounds from chewing and swallowing appear to them. The loud appearance of these sounds is due to the ear canal being closed off by the hearing aid or earmould. Another possible reason for this is that the brain, because of the hearing loss, has forgotten how chewing and swallowing sound. If the problems are caused by the ear mould or the hearing aid, the hearing care professional might be able to adjust these and thereby reduce the volume of these sounds.

To start with, many sounds that initially may appear too loud will usually no longer claim your attention when you get used to wearing your new hearing aid.


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Tips for hearing aid users
What you can do and what you can ask others to do to reduce listening difficulties.