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5 reasons people choose not to wear their hearing aids.

As hearing specialists, you’d expect us to talk about the positives of hearing aids – the improved clarity, the restored confidence, the better social life. But it would be foolish of us to ignore the other side of the coin. Because the honest truth is, as you read this, thousands of hearing aids are gathering dust in the back of bedroom and kitchen draws around the country, never to see the light of day again.

Given that pound-for-pound a hearing aid is often the most valuable item a person owns, you have to ask why someone might choose not to wear them. So we put our thinking caps on and came up with the top 5 reasons why people give up on their hearing aids:

1. The aid doesn’t provide the improvements they expected

2. They feel self-conscious about wearing their aid

3. They find the aid uncomfortable

4. They find the hearing aid too complicated

5. They can’t stay on top of the maintenance

When we hear these common complaints, we often advise people that the root of their problem is likely not an issue with hearing aids in general but that their specific hearing aid isn’t appropriate to their lifestyle. What do we mean? Well, let’s take a look at each reason in a little more detail.

 

1. The aid doesn’t provide the improvements they expected
Wearing a hearing aid is a lot like wearing glasses. They won’t fix your hearing condition, but you should notice a huge improvement when you put them in. It’s often described as having the blanket lifted from your ears. If that isn’t the case, it’s probably down to one of two things – either the initial hearing tests didn’t provide an accurate diagnosis or the aid itself hasn’t been properly set up by the clinic.

These issues are most common with high-street hearing centres. They typically offer less-thorough hearing tests than specialist clinics, which can result in misdiagnosis. They also provide limited aftercare, which means the all-important fine tuning might not be carried out to a high enough standard. By contrast, we provide follow-up sessions every six months to keep your hearing aid performing perfectly, even as your hearing changes over time.

To find out more about the difference between high-street centres and specialist hearing clinics, view our page which explains your journey.

 

2. They feel self-conscious about wearing their aid
We live in a culture that seems to place a lot of value on youth and health. So it’s no surprise that some people feel that wearing a hearing aid isn’t exactly the image they’re going for. Thankfully, there are now a number of hearing aids which are entirely invisible to the outside world and skin-tone matching has also come on a long way in recent years, so it is possible to wear a hearing aid more discretely than ever before.

But I would argue that the biggest step change isn’t technological. It’s social. In a previous blog post, I wrote about some common myths surrounding hearing conditions. Thanks to events like Deaf Awareness Week and celebrities such as rapper Will.I.Am talking publicly about their hearing conditions, these myths are gradually being replaced by knowledge. Indeed, 10 million people in the UK have some form of hearing loss. That’s about 1 in 6 of us. And while age is certainly a factor, 3.5 million people between 16 and 55 have some form of hearing condition.

 

3. They find the aid uncomfortable
Like a pair of glasses or a new pair of shoes, it can take a little time to adjust to the feeling of wearing a hearing aid. But the ‘breaking in’ period shouldn’t last more than a couple of weeks at most. If feelings of discomfort continue longer than this, it’s almost certainly because the aid hasn’t been fitted properly by the clinic.

However, if your hearing aid is more than five years old, you might want to explore some more recent options, as fit and usability are key design factors for most hearing aid manufactures these days.

 

4. They find the hearing aid too complicated
Technology has brought many wonderful advancements in our society. But let’s be honest here, many of us aren’t all that technically minded. We just want a phone that makes phone calls and a hearing aid that aids our hearing.

While modern hearing aids certainly do have more controls than those of bygone times, they are still designed with ease of use very much a top priority. While your children or grandchildren might not be able to step in and help you out, this is where your clinic should step in. Unfortunately, some non-specialist centres still rush this rather important step. But at Sevenoaks Hearing, we provide two or three follow-up sessions, during which we take the time to answer all our clients’ questions about how to control their device.

 

5. They can’t stay on top of the maintenance
Like anything else you wear, a hearing aid needs a regular clean and the batteries also need replacing. Thankfully, most modern hearing aids have considered this factor into their design, limiting the amount of time it takes to keep them working well. If your hearing aid is a few years old and you find the maintenance a bit of a headache, you might want to take a look at some more up-to-date models that can simplify this process for you.

 

Do you have a hearing aid you don’t wear?
If your existing hearing aid doesn’t meet your needs, we’re here to help. We can recalibrate your hearing aid, even you purchased it elsewhere (although we can’t work on hearing aids acquired through the NHS). We can also use our state-of-the-art tests to provide you with an accurate diagnosis of your hearing condition and an effective solution. As we are independent of any manufacturer, we can also provide the best solution for your lifestyle. Find out about our hearing assessments and other treatment services.

 

About Sevenoaks Hearing
At Sevenoaks Hearing, we provide a bespoke hearing service, using state-of-the-art technology to provide an accurate diagnosis and an effective solution. As we are independent of any manufacturer, we can also provide the best solution for your lifestyle. Find out about our hearing assessments and other treatment services.

Written by Matt Canon, Lead Audiologist at Sevenoaks Hearing. Visit our independent hearing centres in Sevenoaks, Banstead and East Grinstead or book an appointment now.

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