One of the worst things I can hear from a client is that their hearing aids are in their drawer more often than they are in their ears.
Every time I hear this I am baffled, as I can’t fathom someone paying thousands of dollars for hearing aids only to keep them in their drawer.
As I meet with these people and start to ask questions, I will typically discover why they are not using their hearing aids.
One of three common reasons tend to arise.
Low Motivation: Many people decide to purchase hearing aids at the urging of a family member and are therefore quite reluctant to wear them.
These people have very low motivation and stop wearing hearing aids as soon as any degree of problem occurs.
They are almost looking for reasons to not wear their hearing aids.
Acclimatization: When most people decide to get hearing aids they will have typically been living with hearing loss for approximately seven years.
By the time they get fitted with hearing aids their brain has become accustomed to living in a very quiet world and has become used to a reduced level of stimulation.
After being fit with hearing aids the level of stimulation in the auditory cortex is increased significantly.
When this happens we can have a very unpleasant experience with the hearing aids as most sounds are perceived as being excessively loud. Many people would rather live in silence than to put up with living in a noisy world.
Hearing aids are not set properly: Your hearing aids are only as good as the hearing professional who has set them for you.
There are hearing aids out there that have not been set/programmed properly.
As a result certain sounds will be over-amplified while others will be under-amplified.
The end result is hearing aids that either do not provide sufficient benefit or are far too loud/noisy.
In many instances there is a simple problem that has not yet been addressed adequately with the hearing aids.
Perhaps the hearing aid is too tight, has feedback, or is not staying in the ear properly.
These problems can typically be addressed very easily with a single appointment with your hearing professional.
In other instances, the problem is that the hearing aids are not set properly.
If this is the case you would be wise to return to your hearing aid provider and explain your problems.
They should then take the time and start the fitting process over from the beginning.
The fitting of a new hearing aid involves several appointments over a period of two to three months.
During this period of time the hearing aids are set at a softer ‘beginners’ level and are then gradually turned louder over time.
Many appointments are needed throughout this process where your hearing professional can iron out the inevitable wrinkles that can crop up.
But in the end, never keep hearing aids that are not working properly for you.
All hearing aids come with a return period which typically varies from 60 to 100 days depending on where you get them from.
If you have reached the end of your trial period and are not confident that you have made a good decision with the hearing aids, either request a trial period extension or return them.
Never should you keep a hearing aid that will end up in the drawer.