Hearing loss is typically gradual. For most people, they don’t really notice their hearing declining until someone in their surroundings points it out. A lot of people think that experiencing hearing difficulties come with age, or that their difficulties are not necessarily caused by hearing loss itself, but rather caused by other people mumbling. In some cases, they are correct. But for most people, the cause of their problems really does stem from damage to their hearing.
When you have a gradual hearing loss, your brain slowly adjusts to hearing differently, year after year. When we fit a hearing aid on someone who has had hearing loss for years, the amount of volume they are now hearing can be a bit shocking, so they feel like they are hearing a bit of an echo, which actually comes from natural reverberation of sound that hasn’t been heard in a while.
Another way of seeing this is that when you have a hearing loss, you are hearing everything around you through the filter of your loss. By wearing hearing aids, it is almost like you jump start your brain all the way back to near-normal hearing. As an example, did you know that your jacket makes noise? Typing on a keyboard makes noise? If you pay attention, you can hear a lot of these background noises in your daily life and realize how much your brain filters them out.
When you get hearing aids, your brain also sometimes reacts in a fight or flight manner and needs a bit of time to determine if the sounds are necessary for your survival, or of it can simply ignore them and push them in the background. Basically, your brain learns to perform selective hearing again, and make hearing more effortless for you.