As hearing providers, there’s one specific type of hearing aid that we all worry about. It’s bad for the patient, and it can avert other people from even trying to give hearing aids a chance.
They’re better-known as “in-the-drawer” hearing aids. In comparison 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 instructs about their less than ideal experience.
For the countless numbers of people that have acquired hearing aids, a good number will call it quits on the possibility 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 can be tricky. There are numerous things that can go wrong, producing a negative experience and causing people to give up. But there are ways to avoid this, steps you can take to ensure that, with a bit of 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 try, you’ll want to continue reading. By understanding the reasons some people give up on hearing aids, you can eliminate the same mistakes.
Listed below are the principal reasons people give up on hearing aids.
1. Selecting 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 difficulty hearing higher-pitched sounds, like speech, as compared to other sounds.
As a result, if you select a device that amplifies all sound uniformly, like most personal sound amplifiers, sound quality will be affected, and you’ll still most likely be drowning out speech. You’ll need a hearing aid that is programmed to amplify the precise sounds and frequencies you have difficulty with, while suppressing background noise at the same time.
Only programmable digital hearing aids have this capability.
2. Improper hearing aid programming or fitting
Since hearing loss is unique, the hearing aid must be custom-programmed for you exclusively. If the configurations are inaccurate, or your hearing has changed throughout the years, your hearing professional may have to adjust the settings.
Far too often, people give up too quickly, when all they require is some adjustment to the amplification settings. Additionally, if your hearing changes, you may need the settings updated. Think of 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 acquiring 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 disappointment. Hearing aids will enhance your hearing considerably, but it takes some time to get used to.
At the start, your hearing aids might 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 adapt, but not right away. Plan on giving your hearing aids about 6-8 weeks before your brain fully adapts to the sound.
Your patience will be worth it—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 come to be easily overwhelmed in busy, noisy situations with a lot of sound. This can happen for a couple different reasons.
First, if you right away start using your new hearing aid in noisy settings—before giving yourself a chance to adjust to them at home—the sound can be overwhelming. 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, just like you did at home. It’s typical to have one bad experience and give up, but keep in mind, your brain will adapt after some time.
And last, you might just need to update your hearing aids. The latest 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 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 asking yourself if any of the above is applicable.
The fact that hearing aids didn’t work out for somebody else doesn’t mean they won’t work out for you, particularly if you work with a trustworthy hearing care provider. And if you’ve had a bad experience in the past yourself, perhaps a clean start, improved technology, and professional care will make all the difference.