Listen up! Adjusting to hearing aids takes perseverance

Your ears collect sound, but hearing comprehension happens in your brain

”Hearing happens in your brain. Our ears collect the sound, but it’s our brains that make sense of it,” says Kim Galick at Ears Hearing in Langley.

”Hearing happens in your brain. Our ears collect the sound, but it’s our brains that make sense of it,” says Kim Galick at Ears Hearing in Langley.

Close your eyes and listen: what do you hear?

Maybe it’s the gurgle of the coffee maker, or the morning radio. Do you hear the murmur of your children in the next room? Sounds are more than the background noise to our world: they tell us when the toaster’s popped, when someone’s walking quickly behind you, when your order is up at the coffee shop.

Maybe you’ve noticed that it seems harder to hear with more people wearing masks. Why would that be? Your ears aren’t covered, so you should be able to hear just fine. Many people who may have been in denial about their hearing loss are realizing now how much they rely on lip reading.

“Hearing happens in your brain. Our ears collect the sound, but it’s our brains that make sense of it,” says Kim Galick, owner of Ears Hearing in Langley. “Without visual lipreading and other cues our brains need to refocus, and that takes energy! The harder your brain has to work to understand conversation, the less mental resources you’ll have for other tasks.”

The face-mask era will hopefully come to an end, but what can you do if your hearing is suffering for other reasons?

Adjust and persevere

“One of the best things about my job is giving the gift of hearing, and seeing its dramatic effects,” Galick says.

“I was ecstatic with the experience I’ve had with my new hearing aids,” says Ears Hearing client Troy Demmit. “I could hear birds, street noises, water running, light breezes in the trees, my wife talking to me using a non-strident, soft voice. Things I hadn’t heard in years. I was like a kid with a new toy running around saying ‘I can hear that, I can hear that.’”

Purchasing hearing aids is only the first step towards better hearing. It will take patience and determination to increase your ability to hear.

“Many people have hearing aids, but they’re not always in their ears!” Galick says. “It can take weeks or months for the brain to adjust to the new sounds from hearing aids. It’s not like wearing glasses to correct eyesight. The brain is suddenly receiving much more sound — background noise, speech, high pitches and low mumbling — and has to make sense of it all.”

Because Ears Hearing is independent and not owned by a hearing aid manufacturer, you can explore hearing solutions from all the major manufacturers to find the right fit. During the trial period it’s important to wear your hearing aids every day — start with short doses in familiar settings and build yourself up.

“Over the years I’ve compensated my difficulty in hearing by sitting closer to the front of the room in meetings or asking people to repeat themselves,” says Ears Hearing client Gwen Scott. “I was reluctant to use hearing aids because of the stigma attached to them, but a friend confided in me that she wore them and I was surprised to see they were small and discreet. She recommended Kim at Ears Hearing, and I’ve been so impressed with Kim’s ethical approach to her business.”

Book your free appointment with Ears Hearing by calling 604-427-2828 or emailing info@earslangley.com. Find the clinic at Unit C 20568 56 Ave. in Langley and online at earslangley.com.

Health and wellnessSeniors