Hearing loss has many repercussions. Failing to treat a hearing loss can lead to depression, frustration, insecurity, irritability, anxiety, cognitive impairment and social isolation. It can even be life-threatening if you can’t hear signs of possible danger, such as a stranger approaching you on the street. Despite these facts, only 20% of individuals who have hearing loss that could benefit from hearing aids choose to do so.
People choose not to wear hearing aids for many reasons. For some, they are not ready to accept the fact that their communication difficulties are due to their hearing loss. They prefer to accuse others of not speaking as clearly as they used to: “I can hear just fine. She just mumbles.” For others, cosmetics, or how a hearing aid looks in the ear takes precedence. The good news is that technology has made it possible for hearing aids to be virtually invisible. Many hearing aids manufactured today are so small that they can go almost undetected to the naked eye. No longer are they the “big shrimp” behind the ear like your grandfather used to wear. There are even hearing aids that are placed deep into the ear canal by your audiologist and stay there for up to four months! (check out Lyrichearing.com)
Another reason someone might choose to not wear hearing aids is because of the fact that almost everyone knows of someone who bought hearing aids and didn’t like them. This could be due to any numbers of reasons. Perhaps they received a poor quality instrument, they didn’t get it fit properly or didn’t receive enough counseling to use the hearing aids properly. Keep in mind that in most states, hearing aid purchasers have 30-days to evaluate the product in their own listening environments. If you find that the hearing aids are not providing the benefit you are looking for, the hearing aids can be returned with only a nominal fee. On a case-by-case basis, many audiologists are willing to extend the evaluation period longer if necessary. The goal of any good audiologist who has your best interests in mind is to find the right instrument that meets your hearing needs, however long that takes.
Still others may be intimidated by complicated terminology that seems to accompany hearing aids like, “digital signal processing”, “directional/dual microphones”, or “compression circuitry”. In many ways, the more advanced the hearing aids are, the less the person wearing them has to do. For example, digital hearing aids have automatic volume controls to adjust accordingly for soft, medium, and loud sounds. They can also change the workings of the hearing aid when it gets noisy, without you having to tell it to do so. Hands-free operation with digital processing actually makes using a hearing aid much easier!
The most common concern for anyone considering purchasing hearing aids is the cost. Hearing aids can indeed be expensive but the improvement in your quality of life can be well worth the investment. Keep in mind that there is no tax on hearing aids and they will come with a manufacturer’s warranty, which can include repairs and replacement for loss and damage (a deductible may apply). Additionally, many audiologists include all office visits for fine-tuning and servicing the hearing aids for the life of the hearing aids in the total cost. If you are concerned about cost, talk to your audiologist. There are hearing aids to fit any budget. Be sure to ask about payment plans, as well. You might be surprised at how easily the cost of hearing aids can be accommodated.
The size of hearing aids, how they look, confusion about technology and cost are all valid concerns when you are considering the possibility of purchasing hearing aids. The best thing to do is to get your questions answered by a professional. Working alongside someone who has your best interests in mind can put your concerns to rest. Call our office today! We’ll be glad to help.