Why some hearing aids don't work, and what you can do about it
Every so often I hear about people who have paid for hearing technology and don’t end up wearing or using it. As a professional, it hurts my heart. There are many reasons why, commonly including;
acoustically uncomfortable (eg. too loud, too soft, too tinny, too hollow)
don’t meet expectations (eg. expect to easily hear a TV drama series at the same volume as partner)
feel self-conscious (don’t want to be judged by others)
not motivated (only did it to appease someone else)
don’t know how to maintain them properly
can’t be bothered maintaining them properly
wrong technology match
wrong prescription and/or sound design
resent what they cost, buyers remorse
For any of these reasons, or combinations of, there are far too many people who have ventured into the world of hearing technology and been disappointed, pulling up short. As a clinician, I fear most the subsequent flow-on affects of this experience - that is, that they leave it years and their primary relationships suffer terribly in the meantime, or worse still, they never try again.
If you’re considering hearing technology for the first time, or second time around, how do you avoid the above?
Well, the good news is that I believe the answer is simple.
I want you to ask yourself a few basic questions, be honest with yourself, and then seek the best Audiologist you can find. That’s it. The responsibility for all of the points raised above, I place squarely on the shoulders of your Audiologist. Not 100% of the responsibility, but certainly the large majority. We are the trained experts in this field whom are experienced in recognising, acknowledging, diagnosing, solving and advising on each factor, and more.
Before even embarking on fitting hearing technology, there should be a full discussion on whether or not technology is even required. This is purely determined by you and how you want your life to be. It is not determined by your physical hearing loss, therefore, it is not determined by the Audiologist. It is our Duty of Care to advise you on the near-term and longterm affects socially, physiologically and cognitively, but not to tell you what to do.
I believe I have a Duty of Care to advise and make recommendations, but not decisions.
Once your desire to experience better hearing is established, your Audiologist will help choose a style that is likely to be comfortable and effective, will differentiate the various technology levels and the pros and cons of each as it relates to your needs, will prescribe the right technology match that is fit for purpose and is responsible for explaining in full the maintenance required for peak performance and longevity. The cost of the solution should be discussed openly and chosen by you. a complex array of obligations and a lot of information so if there is someone that you want to attend with you, then you’ll both hear the advice.
Also important to note, two people with the same mild/moderate hearing loss with different lifestyles will have a different experience with their hearing. A hearing loss usually leads to lifestyle restrictions or limitations, hassles, frustrations. But not always, and not everyone is bothered by it.
So the questions to ask yourself are;
Is it possible that I have a hearing loss?
If yes, is it affecting my life in any way? eg. arguments over the TV volume, others being frustrated with me for having to repeat themselves etc, you know what to look for
If yes, is this acceptable? If your answer is yes, a possible hearing loss is acceptable, is not bothersome to me or others at all, then perhaps have a hearing test to be aware of your hearing level for monitoring purposes. If the answer is no, a possible hearing loss is not acceptable, and you do not want to continue with the hearing-related frustration/s, then find a quality, independent Audiologist
Independent Audiologists are the only university trained professionals who can advise on your hearing health and, if need be, advise objectively on all possible solutions. GP’s and ENT’s do not have the knowledge that we have in this field. Audiometrists do not have deep university specialist training.
Deane&Co is independently owned and operated by experienced experts. Call 03 7012 9076.