As hearing providers, there’s one specific type of hearing aid that we all are worried about. It’s detrimental for the patient, and it can avert other people from even making an attempt to give hearing aids a try.
They’re referred to as “in-the-drawer” hearing aids. In contrast 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 unfavorable experience.
For the millions of people 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 modern day technology, we know that this should not be the case.
But hearing aids are tricky. There are numerous things that can go wrong, leading to an unsatisfactory experience and causing people to stop trying. But there are ways to protect against this, actions you can take to ensure that, with a bit of patience, you get the optimal results.
If you’ve had a bad experience in the past, know someone who has, or are planning on giving hearing aids a shot, you’ll want to continue reading. By knowing the reasons some people give up on hearing aids, you can prevent the same mistakes.
Here 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 different. Your hearing loss, just 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.
Which means that, 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 precise sounds and frequencies you have difficulty with, while suppressing background noise simultaneously.
Only programmable digital hearing aids have this ability.
2. Faulty 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 time, your hearing professional may have to modify the settings.
Far too frequently, people give up too soon, when all they require is some modification to the amplification settings. And, if your hearing changes, you may 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 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 prevent you from attaining better hearing.
3. Not giving hearing aids an opportunity to work
There are two problems here: 1) managing expectations, and 2) giving up too quickly.
If you think hearing aids will instantly 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 beginning, your hearing aids might be uncomfortable and loud. This is normal; you’ll be hearing sounds you haven’t heard in 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 patience will pay off—for patients who allow themselves time to adjust, satisfaction rates rise to over 70 percent.
4. Difficulty hearing in noisy surroundings
People with new hearing aids can become very easily overwhelmed in busy, noisy environments with a lot of sound. This can occur for a couple different reasons.
First, if you immediately 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 overwhelming. Try to adjust in calmer environments before testing at a loud restaurant, for instance.
Second, you’ll have to adjust to the loud environments as well, in the same way 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 finally, you may 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 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 start wondering if any of the above applies.
The fact that hearing aids didn’t work out for somebody else doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t work for you, particularly if you work together with a established 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.