As hearing professionals, there’s one particular style of hearing aid that we all are worried about. It’s detrimental for the patient, and it can deter other people from even trying to give hearing aids an opportunity.
They’re known as “in-the-drawer” hearing aids. In comparison to 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 informs about their substandard experience.
For the millions of individuals that have acquired hearing aids, a good amount will give up on the prospect of healthier hearing for one reason or another. But with modern day technology, we know that this should not be the case.
But hearing aids can be tricky. There are many things that can go wrong, creating an unsatisfactory experience and causing people to stop trying. But there are ways to protect against this, steps you can take to make sure that, with a little patience, you get the optimum results.
If you’ve had a bad experience in the past, know somebody who has, or are planning on giving hearing aids a try, you’ll want to keep reading. By recognizing the reasons some people give up on hearing aids, you can prevent the same mistakes.
The following are the main reasons people give up on hearing aids.
1. Purchasing 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. What is more, most individuals with hearing loss have greater difficulty hearing higher-pitched sounds, like speech, compared to other sounds.
And so, if you choose a device that amplifies all sound uniformly, like most personal sound amplifiers, sound quality will suffer, 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 at the same time.
Only programmable digital hearing aids have this capacity.
2. Faulty hearing aid programming or fitting
Since hearing loss is unique, the hearing aid must be custom-programmed for you exclusively. If the configurations are incorrect, or your hearing has changed through the years, your hearing expert may have to modify the settings.
Far too frequently, people give up too quickly, when all they need is some adjustment 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 some time to get used to or you may need a new mold. Either way, this shouldn’t prevent 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 soon.
If you think hearing aids will instantly return your hearing to normal, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. Hearing aids will improve your hearing drastically, but it requires some time to get used to.
At the start, your hearing aids may be uncomfortable and loud. This is typical; you’ll be hearing sounds you haven’t heard in years, and the amplification will sound “off.” Your brain will adjust, but not immediately. Plan on giving your hearing aids about 6-8 weeks before your brain fully adapts to the sound.
Your persistence will be worth it—for patients who allow themselves time to adjust, satisfaction rates rise to over 70 percent.
4. Not being able to hear in noisy surroundings
People 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 right away start using your new hearing aid in loud settings—prior to giving yourself a chance to adapt to them at home—the sound can be overpowering. See if you can adjust in quieter environments before testing at a loud restaurant, for instance.
Second, you’ll have to adjust to the loud environments too, in the same way you did at home. It’s common to have one bad experience and give up, but remember, your brain will adapt after some time.
And last, you might just need to upgrade your hearing aids. The latest models are becoming increasingly better at filtering out background noise and enhancing 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 begin questioning if any of the above is applicable.
The fact that hearing aids didn’t work out for somebody else doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t work for you, especially if you work with a trustworthy hearing care provider. And if you’ve had a substandard experience in the past yourself, maybe a fresh start, better technology, and professional care will make all the difference.