Ask Dr. Will

"Why are some people dissatisfied with hearing aids?"

The percentage of satisfied hearing aid users is growing every year due to the constant advancement in hearing aid technology. Still, there are a number of issues causing some degree of dissatisfaction. Some patients simply struggle to become fully adjusted to a new world of hearing, which often relates to their reluctance to wear their aids full time. Some causes of dissatisfaction can be traced back to inappropriate selection/fit of aids as well as poor follow-up services by the provider of the fitting. However, the most common cause of dissatisfaction among hearing aid users is unrealistic expectations.

Since no instrument, regardless of its technology level, can ever restore hearing back to 100%, hearing aid candidates should expect at least some level of hearing difficulty to remain after amplification begins. This level is different for everyone. Also, candidates should never anticipate a degree of success based on the experiences of another, as each person’s hearing is as unique as a fingerprint. The provider has a responsibility to accurately assess and counsel the patient as to the degree of improvement that should be expected, as well as an accurate estimation of difficulty associated with a personalized post-fitting orientation and adjustment program. A trial period with the appropriate fitting and follow-up program should then yield a result closely resembling the original assessment.

It is important to select a hearing health provider who is qualified to offer an honest and accurate assessment of expected benefits, experienced and skilled to bring about the maximum benefit for each individual. By using this approach the rate of dissatisfied patients is virtually eliminated.

Dr. Will Smith is Director of Audiology at Tennessee Hearing Instruments in Knoxville, Tennessee - East Tennessee's choice for quality hearing care for more than 45 years.


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