The following story is repeated with permission. One of my patients was in for a recent service call and made the comment, “I wish I had purchased a more powerful hearing set because these seemed to have reached a limit for me.” I realized I had failed to properly educate this patient or they had forgotten that their digital hearing aids are digital and adjustable. I explained that again, did a retest of their hearing (now going on three years since their last one), and reprogrammed their hearing aids to their correct need. The response of the patient was simply, “WOW!” After that appointment, I wondered how many other patients in my practice ,or another, were expressing some dissatisfaction with the performance of their hearing aids. I did some research. Consider the top 10 factors related to overall customer satisfaction with hearing aids in this sample of 3,400 hearing aid users. “In rank order the factors that are most correlated with overall hearing aid satisfaction are: 1. Overall benefit 2. Clarity of sound 3. Value (performance of the hearing aid relative to price) 4. Natural sounding 5. Reliability of the hearing aid 6. Richness or fidelity of sound 7. Use in noisy situations 8. Ability to hear in small groups 9. Comfort with loud sounds 10. Sound of own voice (occlusion) These are the factors that tend to co-vary the most with overall satisfaction. The implication is that incremental improvements in these areas will drive improvements in overall satisfaction.”(Source:Marke Trac VIII a hearing industry market and research firm). If you own digital hearing aids and are not satisfied with the sound quality there is a great deal that can be done with a computer and the manufacturer’s fitting software to bring the patient the hearing satisfaction they seek. If you are part of my practice please tell me. If you bought somewhere else, tell them. We can’t fix it if we don’t know there is a problem, but there is a great deal we can do to help a person hear better with the proper programming and adjustments inside those hearing aids. In that same survey I mentioned above, “Ninety-one percent of consumers are satisfied with the ability of their hearing aids to improve communication in one on-one situations. More than three in four are satisfied in small groups (85%), while watching television (80%), outdoors (78%), during leisure activities (78%), while shopping (77%), and while riding in a car (77%). About three out of four consumers are satisfied with their hearing aids in a place of worship (75%), restaurant (75%), and on the telephone (73%). Seven in ten report satisfaction at concerts and movies (72%), sporting events (66%), in the workplace (65%), in school or a classroom (59%), and in bed (53%). However, the reader should be reminded that in terms of need (importance column) fewer than half of consumers rated hearing aid usage in bed and in a school or classroom as important or very important.”(Source: Marke trac VIII) The generalized statics seem to show that most people enjoy and appreciate the ability to hear better. Most of these 3,400 patients would say they are satisfied.
If you, or someone you love is not satisfied, contact your hearing professional. I don’t always speak for everyone in this industry, but I suspect that I do when I say we all would love the opportunity for you to be satisfied with your hearing aid purchase. If you need hearing aids and haven’t taken the step, remember that Pennsylvania guarantees the hearing aid purchaser a thirty day trial period to decide if you want to keep them.
If you have the symptoms of hearing loss let a professional help you find out why. The hearing professional will help you sort out the technology level to meet your need, your budget, and answer your hearing need questions.