Contributed by Debbie Clason, staff writer, Healthy Hearing
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), only 20 percent of people who could benefit from hearing aids actually wear them. If you’ve taken the plunge and purchased hearing aids, congratulations! You’re part of an elite group. Do you wear them every day? Or do they spend more time in your nightstand than they do in your ears?
Why you don’t wear your hearing aids
There are many people who’ve invested in hearing devices and yet, for a variety of reasons, aren’t using them as advised. Some people even say they hate their hearing aids. But much like purchasing a gym membership, hearing aids only work if you use them. So why don’t you wear yours?
In order for any hearing aid to work properly, it has to fit well. When it doesn’t, it can be uncomfortable and ineffective. If you have a behind-the-ear model (BTE) which continually falls off your ear, the tubing that connects the aid to the earmold or tip may be too long. Earmolds which don’t fit properly can cause redness or sores in the ear, and nobody enjoys that. Poor fitting custom or in-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids can cause the same problems.
If your device doesn’t fit you correctly, talk to your hearing healthcare professional. They can make the adjustments necessary for your hearing devices to fit properly and comfortably. When they do, you’ll be a lot more likely to want to wear them.
Lack of confidence
Today’s hearing aid technology is wonderful as long as you know how to use it. If you’ve forgotten how to change the batteries or how to use the app on your smartphone to adjust the settings, give your hearing center a call. They work with these devices on a daily basis and are happy to provide the instruction you need to get the most from your devices — no matter how many times you ask.
Lack of commitment
If you save your hearing aids for “special occasions,” such as church on Sunday or group functions with friends and family, chances are good you won’t hear as well as you want to. That’s because hearing is a brain activity. Depending upon the severity of your hearing loss and the amount of time you waited to get treatment, your brain needs time to make sense of the signals it’s receiving from your inner ear. By wearing your hearing aids on a daily basis, you provide the consistency your brain needs to reacquaint itself to sounds it hasn’t heard in a while and acclimate to different listening environments. The daily habit also gives you the opportunity to get to know your hearing devices, which in turn builds the confidence you need to maximize their benefits.
No longer effective
If your hearing aids worked well in the beginning but no longer seem to help you hear well, it’s important to share that information with your hearing healthcare professional. Your hearing loss may have changed or your hearing aids may need a good cleaning. Whatever the reason, trust your hearing center staff to diagnose the source of the problem and correct it. The path to better hearing begins with open and honest dialogue with your hearing healthcare professional.
Why you should wear your hearing aids
Most likely, your hearing healthcare professional has already emphasized the importance wearing your hearing aids has on your overall health and quality of life. A recent worldwide study on hearing loss and hearing aids involving more than 120,000 individuals in Germany, France, UK, Italy, Switzerland and the United States confirms their claims. The study found eight out of ten users believe hearing aids have had a positive impact on their quality of life, including improved relationships at home and work and a better sense of safety and independence.
Your hearing aids can have the same impact on your life. It all begins when you take them out of storage and begin wearing them regularly.
Practice makes perfect
Wearing your hearing aids every day helps you become more familiar with the way they work and, more importantly, reacquaint your brain to all of the sounds it hasn’t been hearing. The result is a winning situation — for you, your brain and your overall quality of life.
You’ve already made the investment
You wouldn’t buy a new car and let it sit in the garage, would you? Maximize your investment by wearing your aids daily with pride. With today’s technology, you can enjoy life in almost every listening situation — from taking a quiet hike on your favorite trail to celebrating life’s achievements with your friends and family.
It’s not all about you
When you’re hearing your best, it’s easier for your family and friends to communicate with you. Untreated hearing loss and hearing aids that aren’t worn cause hardship for those you love the most. Whatever the reason for not wearing your hearing aids, share them with your hearing healthcare professional. Don’t let your hearing loss interfere with your ability to enjoy all life has to offer, especially when you already have the solution.
If you haven’t yet taken the leap to get hearing aids, there’s no time like the present. Schedule an appointment now with a clinic in our consumer-reviewed directory to find hearing aids near you.