Demystifying the Side Effects of Hearing Aids Echo Audiology
Do you have hearing loss, but are sceptical about wearing hearing aids due to their side effects? Would you rather feel left out at a family gathering, miss out on the commentary of your favorite sport, or accept that you won’t be able to hear the music you play? At Echo Audiology, many of our patients express concerns about using hearing aids, as their parents or elderly relatives who wear aids find them uncomfortable.

However, today’s devices are sleek and sophisticated, and offer the modern conveniences that their predecessors did not. They incorporate technological advancements that minimize discomfort and offer a flawless fit.

Read on to know more about hearing devices. Our team here are Echo Audiology wants to bust the myths associated with their side effects, so more people can benefit from improved hearing and a better, more comfortable quality of life.

Hearing Aids Side Effects – Separating Facts from Fiction

  1. Can Hearing Aids Cause Itchy Ears or Discomfort? Whether it is the shape, size or sensitivity, every individual’s ears are different. For some of you, the hearing device may fit so beautifully, that you may not even be conscious that you are wearing an external aid. In fact, many of our patients share stories about how they forget to remove the device before stepping into the shower or going to bed, simply because they don’t feel its presence. However, if you are finding it difficult to adapt to your hearing aid, there may be several reasons for the same.
    1. Itchiness: Whether it is higher sensitivity, or an existing skin condition such as eczema, sometimes, hearing aids may cause itching. While the device may not exacerbate an existing skin condition, a constant itch will make you think of your hearing device as a bane rather than a boon. Discuss the issue with your audiologist and understand your options. In some cases, using a soothing lotion may address the itch, while in other cases, you may have to try out a differently shaped device that fits your ear better.
    1. Discomfort: The discomfort or soreness that you feel in your ear could be due to improper fitting on the custom portion of the device. Consult your audiologist to see if they can modify this portion of the hearing aid or remake it all together. Regardless of the issue, an audiologist will offer solutions that increase your comfort and make wearing your hearing aid as effortless as possible.
  • Can Hearing Aids Cause me to Hear My Own Voice? When you first start wearing hearing aids, you may find that your own voice sounds amplified, distant, or different from the usual. You don’t need to worry as this is very common and you need to give your body the chance to adapt to the device. Under normal circumstances, you hear your own voice through your ears and the bones in your skull. However, when you wear a hearing aid, you add a third method of transmission, which may shift the perception of your own voice. Additionally, the device is also helping you grasp a fuller range of speech. It is only a matter of time, before your ears adjust to the new normal and you get used to hearing your voice.
  • Could I Start Hearing Echoes and Background Noise? When you suffer from hearing loss, what you actually hear is partial or filtered sounds. Once you start wearing hearing aids, there is a transformation in your method of hearing, which causes your brain to perceive the sounds around you differently. Since you rediscover the natural reverberation that your ears have not been used to in a while, you may hear a bit of an echo. When you are new to hearing aids, give your brain a chance to understand the real normal, which was absent for some time, due to the impaired hearing. After a few weeks of wearing the device, you will stop noticing the echo, background noise, or amplified and funny sounds.

The other aspect that you may notice is hearing all the background noise. How long has it been since you heard a slight rustle while wearing a jacket, or a click clack when you type on your keyboard, or the munching sound when you chew your food? These background sounds have always been there, but you may start hearing them distinctly when you first get hearing aids. In time, your brain will adjust to these sounds and learn to selectively ignore the unnecessary ones. It is almost as if you are reprogramming your brain to perform selective hearing. In time, you will stop hearing background noises and be able to focus better on the speech sounds.

  • Can Hearing Aids cause Tiredness or Headaches?: When you first get hearing aids, your brain is working harder to:
    • Stay alert and adjust to the device
    • Rebuild your perceptions of the new normal
    • Relearn how to ignore the unnecessary background sounds

With this added activity, your brain feels the same way that your muscles would feel after an intense workout session. However, we advise our patients to wear the new device as often as possible. This will stimulate the brain and get it accustomed to the new acoustic environment, as quickly as possible.

In case the long periods of wearing the device make you very tired, or give you a nasty headache, give yourself a break for a few hours, and pick them up again. In our clinical experience, we have seen that headaches are extremely rare, and if they do happen, the symptoms do not last beyond a week.

  • Will My Hearing Aid Generate Feedback? Have your parents, grandparents or senior relatives complained about an annoying high-pitched sound coming out of their hearing aid?  Known as feedback, this is a sound that originates from your hearing aid, leaks out of the ear, and is picked up again by the microphone of the device. Modern technology has been able to fix such sound leaks and your hearing aid should not generate any feedback, as long as its acoustic fit is proper. If you are getting feedback from your hearing aids, it is because:
    • There is wax buildup in your ear canal
    • The hearing aid has not properly fit into your ear physically
    • The device is not programmed correctly

A clear ear canal, suitably fit device and appropriate programming will ensure that there is no feedback. If your device is generating any feedback, visit your Audiologist and get it resolved at the earliest.

Stay On Top of Your Hearing Health

If you have had a not-so-pleasant, personal experience with hearing aids in the past, or you have seen the difficulties experienced by your previous generations, your hesitation to seek help for the hearing loss is understandable. However, many issues associated with older technology are now a thing of the past. When it comes to modern hearing aids, the qualified and experienced Audiologists at Echo Audiology understand the devices, inside-out. With access to all the mainstream manufacturers, we offer an extensive range of hearing aids in various styles and convenient features. Our friendly staff also offers free, in-clinic demos that will help you to understand and enjoy the benefits of your hearing aids, while making them a natural extension of your wardrobe.

Address all your concerns and get fitted with the right devices to rediscover your hearing. Book a consultation at Echo Audiology, your local, independent and trusted Orléans Audiology Clinic. Take charge of your hearing health today!