By Jeff Bayliff
What are reasonable expectations for the patient and family members of newhearing aid users? Certainly the patient should hear better. If they are not thehearing professional should be contacted immediately to find out why they arenot. The family of hearing aid patients need to understand that their loved onehas developed deep habits of saying “What? or Huh?” and maybe even not respondingbecause of their long term hearing loss. Perhaps the greatest patience should beonthe part of family members. I have seen and heard horror stories of family members who have become abusive to the patient, yelling about their asking what was saidor yelling about if they have the aids in. The patient is adjusting to a newchallengeintheir life and need the help and encouragement from family members. If therearereal problems, again, contact the hearing professional to help the patient. Hearing aids can be a lifesaver. But though the technology has improved in recent years, these essential devices can still sometimes cause annoyance. And for manyAmericans, wearing masks during the pandemic has made wearing hearing aids even more challenging. “We’re seeing patients come in with more complaints relatedto their hearing aids, and many are reluctant to visit their audiologist to make thenecessary adjustments and changes to make wearing them easier,” says Douglas Hildrew, MD, an ear, nose and throat specialist at the Yale School of Medicine inNew Haven, Conn. If you ignore these seemingly minor annoyances, you’re less likely to wear your hearing aids” (Consumer Reports) Realistic expectations withpatience are the keys. Hearing aids do not bring back the hearing of an eighteen year old. They are what they are called, an “aid” to hear better. When I amdelivering a new set, I always try to cover these issues with the patient and their family. Sometimes it can be a constant re-education process, especially if the patient is reallyold or disabled beyond their hearing loss. To this day, I have a small circle of veryelderly patients who constantly insert them backwards or upside down. If you are thepatient, seek the help of your professional. If you are the family member, showcompassion and patience but also don’t hesitate to call the hearing care professional. If you are neither, don’t let these comments scare you about hearing aids. Most peopleand their families adjust easily and rejoice that they can hear better.
If you have any symptoms of hearing loss call a hearing healthcare professional today.