As hearing care providers, there’s one particular type of hearing aid that we all are concerned about. It’s detrimental for the patient, and it can stop others from even making an attempt to give hearing aids a try.
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 informs about their inadequate experience.
For the countless numbers of individuals that have acquired hearing aids, a good quantity will call it quits 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 tricky. There are numerous things that can go wrong, triggering a negative experience and causing people to stop trying. 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 somebody who has, or are pondering giving hearing aids a try, you’ll want to keep reading. By appreciating 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. Selecting 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. In addition, most individuals with hearing loss have more challenges hearing higher-pitched sounds, like speech, compared to other sounds.
Which means that, if you go with a device that amplifies all sound uniformly, like most personal sound amplifiers, sound quality will suffer, and you’ll continue to most likely be drowning out speech. You’ll 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 capacity.
2. Inaccurate hearing aid programming or fitting
Given that hearing loss is unique, the hearing aid must be custom-programmed for you exclusively. If the configurations are incorrect, or your hearing has changed through the years, 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-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. Either way, this shouldn’t stop 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 that hearing aids will instantly return your hearing to normal, you’re setting yourself up for discouragement. Hearing aids will improve 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 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 fully adjusts to the sound.
Your patience will pay off—for patients who give themselves time to adjust, satisfaction rates rise to over 70 percent.
4. Difficulty hearing in noisy surroundings
People with brand new hearing aids can become easily overwhelmed in busy, noisy environments with a lot of sound. This can happen for a few reasons.
First, if you immediately begin using your new hearing aid in loud settings—prior to giving yourself a chance to adapt to them at home—the sound can be overwhelming. Make an effort to adjust in tranquil environments before testing at a loud restaurant, for example.
Second, you’ll have to adjust to the loud environments too, 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 last, 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 reap the benefits of the new technology as the rate of change is fast.
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 someone else doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t work for you, especially if you work together with a trustworthy hearing care provider. And if you’ve had a negative experience in the past yourself, maybe a fresh start, better technology, and professional care will make all the difference.