As hearing professionals, there’s one specific style of hearing aid that we all are worried about. It’s bad for the patient, and it can avert others from even trying to give hearing aids a chance.
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, discouraging the patient and anyone the patient tells about their undesirable experience.
For the countless numbers of people that have acquired hearing aids, a good quantity will give up on the possibility of healthier hearing for one reason or another. However, with today’s advanced technology, we know that this should not be the case.
But hearing aids are tricky. There are numerous things that can go wrong, causing a negative experience and causing people to stop trying. But there are ways to protect against this, steps you can take to make certain that, with a little patience, you get the best results.
If you’ve had a bad experience in the past, know someone who has, or are pondering giving hearing aids a shot, you’ll want to continue reading. By being aware of the reasons some people give up on hearing aids, you can prevent the same mistakes.
Listed below are the principal reasons people give up on hearing aids.
1. Choosing the wrong hearing aid or device
Let’s begin with the fact that everyone’s hearing is distinct. Your hearing loss, just like your fingerprint, is also unique to you. On top of that, most individuals with hearing loss have more challenges hearing higher-pitched sounds, like speech, compared to other sounds.
And so, if you settle on a device that amplifies all sound symmetrically, like most personal sound amplifiers, sound quality will be affected, and you’ll continue to most likely be drowning out speech. You’ll need a hearing aid that is programmed to amplify the unique sounds and frequencies you have trouble with, while suppressing background noise simultaneously.
Only programmable digital hearing aids have this capability.
2. Incorrect hearing aid programming or fitting
Seeing as hearing loss is unique, the hearing aid must be custom-programmed for you exclusively. If the settings are inappropriate, or your hearing has changed over the years, your hearing professional may have to modify the settings.
Far too frequently, people give up too quickly, when all they need is some modification to the amplification settings. And, 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, most hearing aids are custom-shaped 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 attaining better hearing.
3. Not giving hearing aids an opportunity to work
There are two problems here: 1) managing expectations, and 2) giving up too quickly.
If you believe that hearing aids will immediately return your hearing to normal, you’re setting yourself up for discouragement. Hearing aids will enhance your hearing dramatically, but it takes some time to get used to.
In the beginning, your hearing aids may be uncomfortable and loud. This is normal; you’ll be hearing sounds you haven’t heard in many years, and the amplification will sound “off.” Your brain will adjust, but not over night. Plan on giving your hearing aids about 6-8 weeks before your brain completely adapts to the sound.
Your perseverance will pay off—for patients who allow themselves time to adjust, satisfaction rates escalate to over 70 percent.
4. Not being able to hear in noisy environments
Patients with brand new hearing aids can become very easily overwhelmed in congested, noisy environments with a lot of sound. This can occur for a couple different reasons.
First, if you right away start using your new hearing aid in noisy settings—before giving yourself an opportunity 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 have to adjust to the loud environments as well, in the same way you did at home. It’s typical to have one bad experience and give up, but remember, your brain will adapt over time.
And last, you may just need to upgrade your hearing aids. Newer models are becoming significantly better at filtering out background noise and enhancing speech. You’ll want to reap the benefits of the new technology as the pace 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 wondering if any of the above is applicable.
The fact that hearing aids didn’t work out for somebody else doesn’t mean they won’t work for you, especially if you work with a reputable hearing care provider. And if you’ve had a substandard experience in the past yourself, maybe a clean start, improved technology, and professional care will make all the difference.