As hearing providers, there’s one particular style of hearing aid that we all get worried about. It’s bad for the patient, and it can stop other people from even making an attempt to give hearing aids an opportunity.
They’re regarded as “in-the-drawer” hearing aids. In contrast to behind-the-ear or in-the-canal hearing aids, ITD hearing aids never see the light of day, discouraging the patient and anyone the patient informs about their unpleasant experience.
For the millions of people that have acquired hearing aids, a good quantity will call it quits on the prospect of healthier hearing for one reason or another. However, with today’s advanced technology, we know that this shouldn’t be the case.
But hearing aids are tricky. There are several things that can go wrong, triggering an undesirable experience and causing people to stop trying. But there are ways to prevent this, steps you can take to ensure that, with a touch of patience, you get the best results.
If you’ve had a bad experience in the past, know someone who has, or are thinking about giving hearing aids a shot, you’ll want to keep reading. By learning about the reasons some people give up on hearing aids, you can eliminate the same mistakes.
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. At the same time, most people with hearing loss have more challenges hearing higher-pitched sounds, like speech, compared to other sounds.
And so, if you go with a device that amplifies all sound symmetrically, like most personal sound amplifiers, sound quality will be affected, and you’ll still most likely be drowning out speech. You need a hearing aid that is programmed to amplify the specific sounds and frequencies you have trouble with, while suppressing background noise simultaneously.
Only programmable digital hearing aids have this ability.
2. Incorrect hearing aid programming or fitting
Since hearing loss is unique, the hearing aid must be custom-programmed for you exclusively. If the settings are inappropriate, or your hearing has changed throughout the years, your hearing professional may have to modify the settings.
Far too often, people give up too quickly, when all they need is some adjustment to the amplification settings. And, if your hearing changes, you might need the settings updated. Think of 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. Either way, this shouldn’t prevent 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 early.
If you think hearing aids will immediately return your hearing to normal, you’re setting yourself up for a letdown. Hearing aids will enhance your hearing dramatically, but it requires some time to get used to.
At the start, your hearing aids may 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 adapt, but not immediately. Plan on giving your hearing aids about 6-8 weeks before your brain completely adjusts to the sound.
Your perseverance will be worth it—for patients who give themselves time to adjust, satisfaction rates skyrocket to over 70 percent.
4. Difficulty hearing in noisy surroundings
People with new hearing aids can come to be easily overwhelmed in hectic, noisy situations with a lot of sound. This can occur for a couple different reasons.
First, if you right away begin using your new hearing aid in noisy settings—prior to giving yourself a chance to adapt to them at home—the sound can be overpowering. See if you can adjust in calmer 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 bad experience and give up, but remember, your brain will adapt over time.
And finally, you might just need to update your hearing aids. Newer models are becoming progressively better at eliminating background noise and enhancing 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 is applicable.
The fact that hearing aids didn’t work out for someone else doesn’t mean they won’t work out for you, especially if you work together with a trustworthy hearing care professional. And if you’ve had a negative experience in the past yourself, perhaps a fresh start, better technology, and professional care will make all the difference.