As hearing professionals, there’s one particular style of hearing aid that we all worry about. It’s detrimental for the patient, and it can deter other people from even making an effort to give hearing aids an opportunity.
They’re called “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, discouraging the patient and anyone the patient tells about their unfavorable experience.
For the millions of people that have obtained hearing aids, a good quantity will call it quits on the prospect of better hearing for one reason or another. But with today’s advanced technology, we know that this should not be the case.
But hearing aids can be tricky. There are numerous 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 make sure that, with a bit of patience, you get the optimal results.
If you’ve had a bad experience in the past, know somebody who has, or are planning on giving hearing aids a chance, you’ll want to keep reading. By learning about the reasons some people give up on hearing aids, you can avoid 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 start with the fact that everyone’s hearing is distinct. Your hearing loss, like your fingerprint, is also unique to you. At the same time, most individuals with hearing loss have greater challenges hearing higher-pitched sounds, like speech, compared to other sounds.
For that reason, if you choose a device that amplifies all sound evenly, like most personal sound amplifiers, sound quality will be affected, and you’ll still most likely be drowning out speech. You need a hearing aid that is programmed to amplify the distinct sounds and frequencies you have trouble with, while suppressing background noise in the process.
Only programmable digital hearing aids have this capability.
2. Inaccurate hearing aid programming or fitting
Seeing as hearing loss is unique, the hearing aid must be custom-programmed for you exclusively. If the configurations are inaccurate, or your hearing has changed over time, 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 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-shaped to the curves of the ear. If you find the fit uncomfortable, it may either just take some time to get used to or you may need a new mold. In either case, this shouldn’t prevent you from achieving 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 believe that hearing aids will instantly return your hearing to normal, you’re setting yourself up for discouragement. Hearing aids will enhance your hearing dramatically, but it requires some time to get used to.
At the start, 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 immediately. Plan on giving your hearing aids about 6-8 weeks before your brain completely 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. Difficulty hearing in noisy surroundings
People with brand new hearing aids can come to be very easily overwhelmed in busy, noisy situations with a lot of sound. This can occur for a couple different reasons.
First, if you immediately begin using your new hearing aid in loud settings—before giving yourself an opportunity to adapt to them at home—the sound can be overpowering. Make an effort to adjust in quieter environments before testing at a loud restaurant, for instance.
Second, you’ll have to adjust to the loud environments too, in the same way you did at home. It’s common to have one bad experience and give up, but remember, your brain will adapt after some time.
And finally, you may just need to update your hearing aids. Newer models are becoming increasingly 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 is applicable.
The fact that hearing aids didn’t work for somebody else doesn’t mean they won’t work out for you, especially if you work together with a reputable 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.