As hearing providers, there’s one particular type of hearing aid that we all worry about. It’s bad for the patient, and it can avert others from even attempting to give hearing aids a chance.
They’re referred to 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, demoralizing the patient and anyone the patient informs about their unfavorable experience.
For the countless numbers of individuals that have purchased hearing aids, a good number will give up on the prospect of better hearing for one reason or another. But with modern day technology, we know that this should not be the case.
But hearing aids are complicated. There are many things that can go wrong, producing a negative experience and causing people to call it quits. But there are ways to prevent this, actions you can take to assure that, with a touch of patience, you get the best results.
If you’ve had a bad experience in the past, know somebody who has, or are thinking about giving hearing aids a try, you’ll want to continue reading. By understanding the reasons some people give up on hearing aids, you can eliminate the same mistakes.
The following are the most common reasons people give up on hearing aids.
1. Purchasing the wrong hearing aid or device
Let’s start with the fact that everyone’s hearing is unique. Your hearing loss, like your fingerprint, is also unique to you. Additionally, most people with hearing loss have more challenges hearing higher-pitched sounds, like speech, compared to other sounds.
So, if you select a device that amplifies all sound evenly, 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 difficulty with, while suppressing background noise simultaneously.
Only programmable digital hearing aids have this ability.
2. Improper 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 inaccurate, or your hearing has changed over the years, your hearing expert may have to modify the settings.
Far too frequently, people give up too quickly, when all they require is some modification 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, 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. Either way, this shouldn’t prevent 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 believe that hearing aids will immediately return your hearing to normal, you’re setting yourself up for discouragement. Hearing aids will improve your hearing appreciably, but it requires some time to get used to.
At the start, 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 adapt, but not immediately. Plan on giving your hearing aids about 6-8 weeks before your brain fully adjusts to the sound.
Your patience will be worthwhile—for patients who allow themselves time to adjust, satisfaction rates escalate to over 70 percent.
4. Difficulty hearing in noisy surroundings
Individuals with new hearing aids can become easily overwhelmed in hectic, noisy situations with a lot of sound. This can occur for a few reasons.
First, if you right away begin using your new hearing aid in loud settings—before giving yourself an opportunity to adapt to them at home—the sound can be overwhelming. Try to adjust in calmer environments before testing at a loud restaurant, for example.
Second, you’ll have to adjust to the loud environments as well, just like you did at home. It’s typical to have one negative experience and give up, but remember, your brain will adapt in time.
And finally, you may just need to update your hearing aids. Newer models are becoming significantly better at eliminating background noise and boosting speech. You’ll want to take advantage of the new technology as the pace 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 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, especially if you work with a reputable hearing care provider. And if you’ve had a bad experience in the past yourself, maybe a clean start, better technology, and professional care will make all the difference.