If your elderly loved one is about to get new hearing aids or some other listening device, you are probably looking forward to what lies ahead. Likely, you're imagining how much easier it will be to communicate with this person and how much easier their life will be now that they'll be able to hear more clearly. It's important to realize, however, that your loved one's first few weeks with hearing aids might not be all sunshine and rainbows. It can take the ears (and brain) some time to get used to hearing a lot of noise again. Your loved one will need your help in order to adapt to the new hearing aids. Here are some ways you can help.

Point out situations where it will be easy for your loved one to get used to the hearing aids.

Most doctors won't recommend that a person jump straight into wearing hearing aids all of the time. They'll likely recommend starting out by wearing them for just a few hours a day and in situations where the noise levels are low to moderate. You can help your loved one by pointing out situations, during the first few weeks with hearing aids, that would be good chances to put them on and adapt. If your loved one is watching television, suggest wearing the hearing aids. The same goes for a quiet dinner with family or a walk in the park. Also point out situations where you loved one might not want to wear hearing aids right away – like loud parties and in busy restaurants.

Be a good listener yourself.

Older adults are not always so welcoming to the idea of getting hearing aids. If it was a struggle to persuade your loved one to get the hearing aids, you might think that now that they have them, the emotional struggle is over. It's not. Your loved one may emotionally struggle with the fact that they need the hearing aids or has to depend on them. The best thing you can do to help with this is to be a good listener yourself. Be supportive and encouraging when your loved one confides in you. Remind them that the fact that they cannot hear well does not detract from their character and that there's nothing shameful about wearing hearing aids, while still validating their feelings.

Don't be pushy if your loved one needs a "break" from the hearing aids.

When your loved one takes out the hearing aids, your first thought might be "Oh no, she is going to fight against wearing these again!" or "He'll never get used to them if he takes them out!" Try your best to avoid saying these things. If your loved one takes the hearing aids out, realize that they probably just need a break. Everyone adapts to hearing aids at a different rate. As long as your loved one is using the hearing aids sometimes, you can expect them to slowly get used to them and start using them more. If it has been a month or longer and your loved one is still hardly ever wearing the aids (if at all), then it is time to talk to the doctor.