As hearing providers, there’s one particular style of hearing aid that we all are worried about. It’s bad for the patient, and it can deter other people from even attempting to give hearing aids a chance.
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, discouraging the patient and anyone the patient instructs about their unpleasant experience.
For the millions of individuals that have obtained hearing aids, a good number will call it quits on the prospect of better 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 complicated. There are many things that can go wrong, creating a negative experience and causing people to call it quits. But there are ways to prevent this, steps you can take to assure that, with a little patience, you get the optimal results.
If you’ve had a negative experience in the past, know someone who has, or are thinking about giving hearing aids a chance, 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 main 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. What is more, most people with hearing loss have greater challenges hearing higher-pitched sounds, like speech, as compared to other sounds.
For that reason, if you select a device that amplifies all sound uniformly, like most personal sound amplifiers, sound quality will be affected, and you’ll continue to most likely be drowning out speech. You need a hearing aid that is programmed to amplify the particular sounds and frequencies you have trouble with, while suppressing background noise at the same time.
Only programmable digital hearing aids have this ability.
2. Inaccurate hearing aid programming or fitting
Seeing as hearing loss is unique, the hearing aid must be custom-programmed for you specifically. If the configurations are inaccurate, or your hearing has changed over the years, your hearing expert may have to adjust the settings.
Far too often, people give up too soon, when all they need is some modification 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 contours 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 stop you from attaining 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 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 takes some time to get used to.
In the early stages, 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 adapt, but not immediately. Plan on giving your hearing aids about 6-8 weeks before your brain fully adjusts to the sound.
Your persistence will pay off—for patients who give 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 congested, 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—before giving yourself an opportunity to adjust to them at home—the sound can be overpowering. Make an effort to adjust in tranquil environments before testing at a loud restaurant, for instance.
Second, you’ll have 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 finally, you may just need to upgrade your hearing aids. Newer models are becoming increasingly better at filtering out 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 questioning if any of the above applies.
The fact that hearing aids didn’t work out for someone else doesn’t mean they won’t work out for you, particularly if you work together with a reputable hearing care professional. And if you’ve had a bad experience in the past yourself, perhaps a fresh start, better technology, and professional care will make all the difference.