As hearing care professionals, there’s one particular style of hearing aid that we all are concerned about. It’s detrimental for the patient, and it can prevent others from even attempting to give hearing aids a try.
They’re regarded as “in-the-drawer” hearing aids. Compared with behind-the-ear or in-the-canal hearing aids, in-the-drawer hearing aids never see the light of day, demoralizing the patient and anyone the patient informs about their less than ideal experience.
For the countless numbers of people that have purchased hearing aids, a good amount will call it quits on the prospect of healthier hearing for one reason or another. But with today’s advanced technology, we know that this should not be the case.
But hearing aids can be tricky. There are several things that can go wrong, leading to a negative experience and causing people to give up. But there are ways to protect against this, actions you can take to make certain that, with a touch of patience, you get the best results.
If you’ve had a negative experience in the past, know somebody who has, or are thinking about giving hearing aids a try, you’ll want to continue reading. By understanding the reasons some people give up on hearing aids, you can avert the same mistakes.
Below are the principal reasons people give up on hearing aids.
1. Selecting the wrong hearing aid or device
Let’s begin with the fact that everyone’s hearing is distinct. Your hearing loss, like your fingerprint, is also unique to you. Additionally, most people with hearing loss have more difficulty hearing higher-pitched sounds, like speech, compared to other sounds.
So, if you go with a device that amplifies all sound uniformly, like most personal sound amplifiers, sound quality will be affected, and you’ll still most likely be drowning out speech. You’ll need a hearing aid that is programmed to amplify the unique sounds and frequencies you have difficulty with, while suppressing background noise at the same time.
Only programmable digital hearing aids have this capability.
2. Inaccurate hearing aid programming or fitting
Seeing as hearing loss is unique, the hearing aid must be custom-programmed for you exclusively. If the configurations are inappropriate, or your hearing has changed over time, your hearing professional may have to modify the settings.
Far too often, people give up too soon, when all they require is some modification to the amplification settings. Additionally, if your hearing changes, you might need the settings updated. Think about it like prescription glasses; when your vision changes, you update the prescription.
Also, nearly all hearing aids are custom-molded to the curves of the ear. If you find the fit uncomfortable, it may either just take a little while to get used to or you may need a new mold. In either case, this shouldn’t stop you from accomplishing better hearing.
3. Not giving hearing aids a chance to work
There are two problems here: 1) controlling expectations, and 2) giving up too early.
If you believe that hearing aids will instantly return your hearing to normal, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. Hearing aids will enhance your hearing considerably, but it requires some time to get used to.
At the outset, your hearing aids might be uncomfortable and loud. This is common; you’ll be hearing sounds you haven’t heard in years, and the amplification will sound “off.” Your brain will adjust, but not right away. Plan on giving your hearing aids about 6-8 weeks before your brain properly adjusts to the sound.
Your persistence will be worth it—for patients who allow themselves time to adjust, satisfaction rates escalate to over 70 percent.
4. Not being able to hear in noisy environments
Individuals with brand new hearing aids can come to be easily overwhelmed in busy, noisy situations with a lot of sound. This can occur for a few reasons.
First, if you immediately begin using your new hearing aid in noisy settings—before giving yourself a chance to adjust to them at home—the sound can be overwhelming. Make an effort to adjust in tranquil environments before testing at a loud restaurant, for example.
Second, you’ll need to adjust to the loud environments too, in the same way you did at home. It’s typical to have one negative experience and give up, but remember, your brain will adapt after some time.
And finally, you may just need to update your hearing aids. Newer models are becoming significantly better at eliminating background noise and boosting speech. You’ll want to reap the benefits of the new technology as the rate of change is fast.
It’s true that hearing aids are not for everyone, but the next time you hear a story about how hearing aids don’t work, you should begin asking yourself if any of the above applies.
The fact that hearing aids didn’t work for somebody else doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t work for you, particularly if you work with a trustworthy hearing care provider. And if you’ve had a bad experience in the past yourself, maybe a clean start, improved technology, and professional care will make all the difference.