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What do hearing aids sound like?

Thomas Goyne, AuD

Doctor of Audiology

04 May 2016 - 4.86K Views

For first-time users, hearing aids will often sound “tinny” or “amplified” or even seemingly too loud for the first few days of use. This is because for most first-time users, their brains have forgotten what it is like to hear normally, which is part of a process that is often referred to as auditory deprivation. However, after regular use of the hearing aids, if the aids are properly fit and programmed, the user will eventually adapt to the experience of closer-to-normal hearing and will no longer notice a “tinny” quality.

After a 7 to 14 period of regular use, most users of properly fit hearing aids will remark how much clearer the sounds in their environment are while using their hearing aids and how dull the world sounds without their hearing aids. This is part of the process is typically referred to as auditory adaptation.

Consider this analogy: Imagine if someone were to wear moderately dark sunglasses all day, every day for several years and then, suddenly, stopped wearing the sunglasses. Their immediate reaction would be that even normal amounts of light seem too way too bright. This is very similar to what happens with most first-time hearing aid users. The normal amounts of sound seem too “bright” or too “tinny” because they’ve been living with a partial hearing loss for some time.

More information on auditory deprivation and adaptation.

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