As hearing professionals, there’s one specific style of hearing aid that we all are concerned about. It’s bad for the patient, and it can keep other people from even making an attempt to give hearing aids a try.
They’re referred to as “in-the-drawer” hearing aids. As opposed to behind-the-ear or in-the-canal hearing aids, ITD hearing aids never see the light of day, demoralizing the patient and anyone the patient informs about their less than ideal experience.
For the millions 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. However, with modern day technology, we know that this shouldn’t be the case.
But hearing aids are complicated. There are numerous things that can go wrong, producing a negative experience and causing people to stop trying. But there are ways to prevent this, steps 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 planning on giving hearing aids a shot, you’ll want to continue reading. By learning about the reasons some people give up on hearing aids, you can avert the same mistakes.
Below are the main reasons people give up on hearing aids.
1. Selecting the wrong hearing aid or device
Let’s start with the fact that everyone’s hearing is unique. Your hearing loss, just like your fingerprint, is also unique to you. In addition, most individuals with hearing loss have more difficulty hearing higher-pitched sounds, like speech, compared to other sounds.
And so, if you select 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 targeted sounds and frequencies you have difficulty with, while suppressing background noise in the process.
Only programmable digital hearing aids have this capacity.
2. Faulty 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 inaccurate, or your hearing has changed over time, your hearing expert may have to adjust the settings.
Far too frequently, people give up too soon, when all they require is some adjustment to the amplification settings. And, if your hearing changes, you may need the settings updated. Think about it like prescription glasses; when your vision changes, you update the prescription.
Also, most hearing aids are custom-formed 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 prevent you from achieving 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 a letdown. Hearing aids will improve your hearing considerably, but it requires some time to get used to.
At the start, your hearing aids might be uncomfortable and loud. This is common; you’ll be hearing sounds you haven’t heard in many years, and the amplification will sound “off.” Your brain will adapt, but not over night. Plan on giving your hearing aids about 6-8 weeks before your brain properly adapts to the sound.
Your patience will be worthwhile—for patients who allow themselves time to adjust, satisfaction rates escalate to over 70 percent.
4. Not being able to hear in noisy environments
People with new hearing aids can come to be very easily overwhelmed in hectic, noisy environments with a lot of sound. This can happen for a couple different reasons.
First, if you immediately start using your new hearing aid in noisy settings—before giving yourself a chance to adapt to them at home—the sound can be overwhelming. Try to adjust in tranquil environments before testing at a loud restaurant, for instance.
Second, you’ll need to adjust to the loud environments too, just like you did at home. It’s typical to have one bad experience and give up, but remember, your brain will adapt after some time.
And last, you may just need to upgrade your hearing aids. The latest models are becoming progressively better at filtering out background noise and boosting speech. You’ll want to take advantage of the new technology as the speed of change is rapid.
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 start asking yourself if any of the above applies.
The fact that hearing aids didn’t work for someone else doesn’t mean they won’t work out for you, particularly if you work together with a established hearing care professional. And if you’ve had a substandard experience in the past yourself, maybe a fresh start, improved technology, and professional care will make all the difference.