As hearing professionals, there’s one particular type of hearing aid that we all worry about. It’s detrimental for the patient, and it can deter other people from even trying to give hearing aids a try.
They’re known as “in-the-drawer” hearing aids. In contrast 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 unpleasant experience.
For the millions of individuals that have owned hearing aids, a good amount will call it quits on the prospect of healthier hearing for one reason or another. But with today’s advanced technology, we know that this shouldn’t be the case.
But hearing aids are complicated. There are many things that can go wrong, causing an unsatisfactory experience and causing people to call it quits. But there are ways to avoid this, actions you can take to ensure 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 considering giving hearing aids a try, you’ll want to keep reading. By learning about the reasons some people give up on hearing aids, you can avoid the same mistakes.
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 different. Your hearing loss, 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.
So, if you decide on a device that amplifies all sound symmetrically, like most personal sound amplifiers, sound quality will suffer, and you’ll continue to most likely be drowning out speech. You need a hearing aid that is programmed to amplify the targeted 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
Seeing as hearing loss is unique, the hearing aid must be custom-programmed for you exclusively. If the settings are incorrect, or your hearing has changed over time, your hearing professional may have to modify the settings.
Far too often, people give up too soon, when all they require 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, nearly all 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. In either case, this shouldn’t stop you from achieving better hearing.
3. Not giving hearing aids a chance to work
There are two problems here: 1) managing expectations, and 2) giving up too soon.
If you think that hearing aids will instantly 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.
In the beginning, your hearing aids may be uncomfortable and loud. This is typical; you’ll be hearing sounds you haven’t heard in many years, and the amplification will sound “off.” Your brain will adapt, but not over night. Plan on giving your hearing aids about 6-8 weeks before your brain properly adjusts to the sound.
Your perseverance will be worth it—for patients who give themselves time to adjust, satisfaction rates escalate to over 70 percent.
4. Not being able to hear in noisy surroundings
Patients with brand new hearing aids can become easily overwhelmed in hectic, noisy situations with a lot of sound. This can occur for a couple different reasons.
First, if you right away start using your new hearing aid in loud settings—prior to giving yourself an opportunity to adapt 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 as well, just like you did at home. It’s common to have one negative experience and give up, but remember, your brain will adapt in time.
And finally, you might just need to update your hearing aids. Newer models are becoming significantly better at filtering out background noise and boosting speech. You’ll want to reap the benefits of the new technology as the rate 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 applies.
The fact that hearing aids didn’t work for someone else doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t work for you, especially if you work with a trustworthy hearing care professional. And if you’ve had a substandard experience in the past yourself, maybe a clean start, improved technology, and professional care will make all the difference.