Trying to help a loved one recognize and come to terms with their hearing loss is a difficult process:
- Step one is bringing up the subject of hearing loss.
- Step two is convincing your loved one to get a professional hearing test.
- Step three is persuading them to purchase the hearing instruments that a professional audiologist recommends.
If you succeed in those three steps, you may think your work is done. Unfortunately, there’s a fourth step that is often overlooked: Making sure your loved one actually wears their hearing device.
Why People Don’t Use Their Hearing Devices
Why would someone go through the steps to get hearing instruments, but then refuse to wear them? The answers to that question can be found in a study published in the International Journal of Audiology.
Researchers conducted a scoping study – a review of scholarly papers – to look for any relevant statistics about people who owned hearing instruments but did not use them. They found one of the most common reasons for non-use of hearing instruments was “hearing aid value/speech clarity” (meaning the user was dissatisfied with the hearing instrument’s sound quality and/or the degree to which it amplified sound or clarified speech).
“Fit and comfort of the hearing aid” was another top complaint, as was “difficulty in noisy situations/background noise.”
One reason for non-use of hearing instruments concerned not the device, but the wearer: Some older people reported difficulty in handling, inserting, and maintaining hearing instruments. Their non-use was likely due to a lack of manual dexterity.
Asking the Right Questions
Many people who recognize their own hearing loss are hesitant to talk about it, due to embarrassment, or a resistance to the idea of wearing hearing instruments. Imagine the disappointment of finally facing your own hearing loss, only to find your hearing instruments didn’t help you or they were too uncomfortable to wear.
If you suspect your loved one is not using their hearing instruments as directed, avoid asking about that directly. Instead, try asking them if they are satisfied with the sound quality and hearing amplification of their hearing instruments. Ask if the devices are comfortable and easy to insert and maintain. Starting this conversation may help you understand what needs to happen for your loved one to use their hearing devices.
Finding a Better Solution
Sometimes, minor adjustments can correct an improper fit, or hearing instruments may need to be reconfigured by the manufacturer. Whatever reasons your loved one may have for not using their hearing devices, Lowe Audiology has a solution.
Please contact us if you need to schedule a hearing instrument evaluation and exam. We want to help your loved one get the most out of life by ensuring their hearing solution is right for them.