As someone who has worn hearing aids (on and off) since I was a child, I used to try to hide it.
But gradually, as I come to accept that it’s a part of me, it has the attention of a people who have asked me the question on what does hearing aids feel like and how does it sound.
I think it’s a fair enough question. How else are you supposed to know unless you wear it yourself?
So I attempted to answer the question in a video to help give you a better understanding.
I get asked quite a lot by different people on what does it feel like to wear a hearing aid?
In this video, I’m gonna tell you a few things you should know about what does it feel like, and also the pain points about wearing it, as well. Coming right up.
What’s up, everyone? I am Ahmed Khalifa, and this is an interesting video for me because I don’t really tell people enough about what does it feel like, even though they ask me about it. I kind of mumble along, just kind of go over it very quickly. Other people, it might be different for them.
But here’s my personal feeling. It’s not something that everyone will feel the same way, as well. The one thing I would say that, in terms of what does it feel like to wear it, well, the best way to describe it is if you are wearing one of these. Just a standard in-ear headphone.
That’s the best way I can describe to tell you what does it feel like. But obviously, wearing this is gonna sound different compared to wearing that, so why don’t we get through the basic stuff about what’s it sound like, as well as what does it feel like wearing that as well. And different things you have to think about.
1. It depends on the type of hearing aids
One is it depends on the type of hearing aids. It could be the in ear only. It could be the over the ear, and obviously, there are people with cochlear implants, as well.
There are different types of hearing aids. They will have different feelings, but most of them will have this in-ear factor, as well, so it can be a quite small one.
It can be a big one like I have, or it could be around the ear, like I have, as well, and I had a combination of them. They all have different purpose, and they all feel differently. It just depends on what works for that person.
And even though it got a lot better over the years, in terms of the fitting, and getting it sized and everything, it’s not always that comfortable to wear, and there are certain time of the day if it’s kind of hot, or if it’s something, you know, not a comfortable environment, or the noise level, anything like that, it can be quite uncomfortable to wear it, in terms of feeling, and in terms of how it sounds.
And it’s just something you have to get used to it. Some people, they can get used to it to the point where they can ignore it.
Others, it just takes a bit longer for them to get used to, if at all. So it’s always the most comfortable experience, but we don’t have another option, really. Just have to get on with it.
2. It can be surprisingly loud
For those who have never worn it, and they wear it for the first time, they might find that it’s actually surprisingly loud.
And even if you can adjust the volume, whether you adjust it yourself, or the audiologist will adjust from their own machine, kind of like a sound engineer, in a way, it can be quite loud, but then you have to think about it’s loud, but to hear the normal level that is supposed to sound like, it’s just we’re not used to it.
3. Our body/brain is not used to it
And this comes to my next point, as well. It’s not just about how loud it is, but also, our body’s not used to it.
You know, when you’re used to not wearing it for a long time or you spend a lot time just not wearing it over the course of a day, then your brain is kinda confused about what’s the normal sound, so when you listen to an environment without hearing aid, then it sounds like that.
But then you wear a hearing aid, it’s completely different. It’s trying to adapt and adjust and say, that’s the normal way.
But that’s the thing. Some people get put off by it. I get put off by it, because it’s a little annoying, so I just go, I’m not gonna wear it. It’s just too loud, and it’s not very nice to wear. All that kind of stuff.
But you just have to get used to, persist, and it does, gradually, get better, except when there’s a loud noise come from nowhere, and you just have to get used to it.
And that’s the thing. Your brain needs to get used to the new sound in terms of volume, but it’s not just the volume. It’s just also how sound is supposed to sound like, as well.
4. Get used to the “normal” sounds
For many years, I thought a particular sound sounded like this, and then you wear it, and it’s like, that doesn’t sound right. It doesn’t sound normal. But it actually is normal, for a lot of people.
And here’s another thing that you just have to get used to, that it may sound uncomfortable, because you’re not used to it. Your body is not used to it. Your brain is not used to it.
So it’s one of these things that you just have to try to persist and get used to the idea when you wear a hearing aid.
Having said that, one thing that I do get annoyed with is that it is not natural in certain places. For example, I do like to play the guitar, as you can see behind me, and I know that when I wear the hearing aid, and I listen to a sound, it sounds way too different to how it’s supposed to sound…
[Playing the guitar]
…compared to when you wear, in music, with the headphones, and you know the acoustic sound, the bass, the treble, all these kinda things. You know what it sounds like, but with a hearing aid? It’s very different, and that is when I get annoyed, because it just doesn’t sound normal.
But it’s okay. At least I’m lucky enough to be able to listen to music and to play the guitar without the hearing aid on, so that I can hear the sound how I like it.
But it does also mean that I will miss certain small things in that sound, and that’s why I will never be able to be an audio engineer or sound engineer, or be kind of a producer in that area.
It just is not gonna happen, because what I hear with or without hearing aids is completely different to the mass audience, so it’s the way it is.
5. Eating certain foods can be noisy
Oh, yeah, and another time when it’s not comfortable to wear it is when you’re eating food, especially those crunchy sound food.
[Mimicking crunchy sounds]
Ah, man, it’s just so annoying, whether you’re eating something like a crisp, for example, you know, that is very, very loud.
You know, peanuts or something, and it’s that crunchy snack food sound. It get amplified. You hear it. You hear what your teeth is doing when you’re munching and crunching and it just amplifies to the point where at times, at the dinner conversation, I have to take it off, because it’s just so annoying.
But that’s the thing. I take it off, and then I can’t hear other people. I was like, ah, give me a break. But it’s not forever. You eat, eat, eat, and then wherever, just put it back, done.
So I’m just gonna stick to eating jelly and ice cream. That’s it.
6. It’s not perfect / cure
I have talked about, in another video, that wearing a hearing aid is not a perfect solution, and it’s not a cure.
I’m gonna mention that up there in the related videos, so it’s not perfect, but it’s the next best thing that I have, and it’s something that I will, you know, you just have to get used to.
I’m still not used to it, after many, many years, but it’s just something that people are aware, that just because I’m wearing it, doesn’t mean that everything is normal, in terms of how you hear things.
So be aware of that, when you see other people wearing a hearing aid, as well. But at the end of a day, one thing that I can definitely tell you how it feels like is when you take it off, the best way I can say how it feels like, and…God, it’s so different already…
The best way I can describe the feeling of taking off your hearing aid, especially after a long day, imagine the feeling when you have been on your feet all day, walking all day, or working all day with your shoes on, and you take it off.
That feeling. You know that feeling? That’s what it feels like when I take off my hearing aid.
But it’s just something that again, you just have to get used to, because if you are out and about, you have to wear your hearing aids all day, you just get used to it.
But then you know when you take it off, it’s like, ah, so nice. Take it off, and just nothing in your ear. So imagine, again, you just wearing this all day long, and imagine the feeling of taking it off, or even a normal headphone, if it’s like over the year, as well.
You can’t wear that all day. It just doesn’t feel right.
Kind of similar to a hearing aid, but it’s fine. At least it’s, I can take it on and off whenever I want. Not that big of a deal.
Now even though I’ve been saying a lot of things that are not nice, and not comfortable, it’s just not something that I enjoy wearing, it has gotten a lot better since I wore it, like 20, 25 years ago, and it was not great at that time.
But I think they’ve moved on. Technology has gotten better, the level of care, especially by the NHS staff, has gotten better, and it’s more knowledgeable, and you know, the skills that you require from the audiologist, the sound technician, the audio engineer people who actually adjust the sound has gotten a lot better.
And it’s thanks to them that they’re making my life easier, as well, so there is a lot of benefit to what I’m doing right now, in terms of wearing a hearing aid, compared to what I’ve worn decades ago. So definitely have something to be grateful for.
So these are some of the things that I thought I’d share with you about what does it feel like and sound like to wear a hearing aid.
Hopefully, that’ll give you a bit of understanding when you see other people and when you and I meet, as well.
Hopefully, we can catch up, as well. Let me know what you think, and also, do you have any other questions? Let me know in the comments below, because I’m curious to know, I just wanna get rid of all the myths that people think that would sound like, and I wanna get through that, and help you out.
So I hope that makes sense. Hope you enjoyed watching it. Thank you. I appreciate it.
Make sure you subscribe to the channel, if you haven’t done so, and I will see you next time.
- What is ‘audism’? Plus my personal experiences of facing audism - October 27, 2021
- ‘CODA’ movie review: my thoughts on the latest deaf movie to be released - October 13, 2021
- Deafness as a ‘hidden/invisible disability’ - October 6, 2021