10 Reasons You Hate Your Hearing Aids
10. Your ability to understand speech is too poor. “I Don’t Understand You…”
> Hearing aids are only capable of increasing volume.
> If you can only understand 10 percent of what you hear when speech is loud enough to hear, it doesn’t matter how loud you turn up the volume.
> Medicare guidelines for a cochlear implant requires a speech understanding ability under 40 percent.
> If your ability to understand speech falls below this mark, a cochlear implant may be your best option to restore clarity to speech.
9. Your hearing aids were fit by someone other than a licensed audiologist.
> Both Audiologists and Hearing Instrument Specialists are licensed to dispense hearing aids.
> The main difference is the amount of schooling required. An audiologist must earn a four-year bachelor degree and a four-year doctoral degree. A Hearing Instrument Specialist can have requirements as low as completing a single exam up to a two-year associates degree.
> Consumer Report’s Hearing Aid Buyers Guide evaluated hearing aid purchases of 12 different consumers and identified that while both types of professionals made mistakes in the fitting process, audiologists made fewer serious fitting errors than did hearing instrument specialists.
8. You don’t use an assisted listening device.
> Background noise is one of the largest complaints of hearing aid users.
> This is due to the amount of noise that becomes mixed with a speech signal.
> The best way to overcome this signal to noise ratio is to use an assistive listening device such as a mini-microphone.
> A mini-microphone works by reducing the distance that speech has to travel to the hearing aids. This significantly reduces the amount of noise that becomes mixed with a speech signal.
7. The type of hearing aid you use is not adequate for your severity of hearing loss.
> Hearing aids come in all shapes and sizes.
> Many patients want the smallest hearing aids possible so they are not seen.
> The problem with this is that not all hearing losses can be fit with a tiny hearing aid.
> If you have a severe to profound hearing loss, you need a hearing aid that can produce enough power to provide you with adequate amplification for your hearing loss.
6. You did not set proper goals.
> The American Academy of Audiology (AAA), the world’s largest professional organization for audiologists, identified the hearing aid industry best practices for treating hearing loss with amplification.
> They identified that the success of treatment is determined by a thorough outcome assessment.
> This means identifying areas that need improvement, and evaluating to see if these areas have improved after treatment.
>These measures could include standard questionnaires or actual written goals by you.
5. Your hearing loss was only evaluated by “beeps”
> While the audiogram does still show important information about your hearing loss, it does not show the whole picture.
> Typically, individuals with hearing loss have the most difficulty in noisy situations, however, not many professionals test your hearing in the presence of noise.
> This can provide valuable information about how you would perform with hearing aids and whether or not you would need an assistive listening device.
4. The hearing aids you use do not actually function properly.
> Dr. Stephanie Sjoblad of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill identified that 12 percent of brand new hearing aids received by her clinic did not meet manufacturers recommendations for performance.
> She also identified that 18 percent of hearing aids returning from repair did not meet their manufacturers recommendations.
> Performing diagnostic tests on a hearing aid before fitting it is the only way to ensure it is functioning properly.
3. You have never received follow-up care.
> The Consumer Reports hearing aid survey indicated that 26 percent of respondents never had a follow-up appointment after being fit with hearing aids.
> Marketrak, the survey used to identify trends in the hearing aid industry, identified that patient satisfaction declines over the lifetime of the hearing aid.
> Hearing ability can change over time, if it goes unidentified, the programming that you received at the time of fitting may be no longer adequate.
2. Real Ear Measures were never performed.
> Real Ear Measures are the best way to identify if the amount of amplification provided by a hearing aid is actually meeting your prescription. This is done by inserting a tiny probe microphone inside the ear canal to measure the amplification of a hearing aid.
> Without real ear measures, there is no way to know if the amount of hearing aid amplification is optimal for you.
> While this is the “Gold Standard” of hearing aid verification, only 40% of audiologists and hearing instrument specialists use it. (Mueller, H. G., & Picou, E. M. (2010). Survey examines popularity of real-ear probe-microphone measures. The Hearing Journal, 63(5), 27-28.)
> Bottom line, if your professional doesn’t do real ear measures, find a new professional
1. You still think that hearing aids are the most important aspect to hearing treatment.
> The AAA guidelines for fitting hearing aids gives 8 specific criteria to achieve the greatest probability of successful treatment.
> Only 1 of them has to do with the selection of an appropriate hearing aid.
> The other 7 have to do directly with the services required to maximize the effectiveness of the hearing aid.
> Simply buying the greatest hearing aid in the world will not help unless you have a hearing care professional who can maximize its effectiveness based on your specific needs.
For more information on hearing aids, and the proper audiologic treatment of your hearing loss, contact the board-certified providers at Arizona Hearing Center by phone at 602.814.0452, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.