A family member obviously needs a hearing aid. Everyone asks him/her to schedule a hearing evaluation, but he/she refuses. What can we do?
There is an old saying, “when you are ready, you will know.” Unfortunately this often doesn’t apply to hearing aids. Hearing loss occurs slowly and is painless so the hearing loss may not be obvious to the person in question. Hearing aids often retain a stigma that a person is “old” or somehow “disabled”: if they are used. This certainly is not true but people will often resist wearing a hearing aid because of this. Compound these factors with the number of complaints offered by disgruntled hearing aid users (or ex-users), and we can readily understand why only 10% of the hard-of-hearing population are fit with hearing aids.
There is another old saying that “a hearing aid is less conspicuous than your hearing loss.” We believe this is quite true. Encourage your family member to have his/her hearing tested without any discussion of hearing aids. Perhaps he/she will become more interested in his/her type and degree of hearing loss if he/she is assured that no one will be delivering a “sales pitch.” Hearing aid trials are generally possible at a minimal cost. If the person continues to resist testing, the family may have few options other than allow him/her to experience the consequences and frustrations of hearing loss.
How do I know if it’s time for a hearing aid or if I will benefit from one?
There are many self-assessment items to determine your level of hearing effectiveness. Having your hearing tested by an audiologist is a great starting point. If hearing aids are recommended, make sure there is a trial period offered which allows you to return the hearing aids at a low cost if the performance of the hearing aids is less than satisfactory.
How do I know if I’m choosing the right hearing aid for me, and if I am paying a fair price?
Discuss styles and circuitry options with your audiologist. Have the audiologist explain the advantages and disadvantages of each type. Together, agree on a course of action. Comparison shopping can be a good idea. However, make certain that you are comparing the same styles and types of circuitry. This can be very misleading.
Does it matter where I go for a hearing aid?
Does it matter where you get your glasses or who you see for other health-related issues? Certainly. See someone that is highly trained so that he/she can offer you sufficient skill to meet your hearing needs. Also, see someone that you are comfortable with. Are they out to help you and meet your hearing needs or are they always out to “sell you something?” Hearing aids are extremely labor intensive. Hearing aids will not restore normal hearing functions and are subject to breakage. Will your audiologist or hearing aid dispenser present sufficient skill and be available when necessary to satisfy your needs? These are primary factors for patient satisfaction, and it may mean that you pay a little more for your hearing aid as these services are costly.