| Wed, Feb 25, 2015 @ 11:08 AM

Why won’t you wear your hearing aids?

Posted by Medicare Made Clear

Slowly over time, the television becomes so loud it drowns out everything in the room. You found yourself making sure to have eye contact with your loved one before you start speaking. Simple questions can turn into frustrating arguments.

These are common examples of problems that a caregiver may have when a loved one begins experiencing hearing loss.

hearing aidsEven if your loved one agrees to get hearing aids, that may not fix the problem. Hearing aids must be actually worn for them to work.

The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communications Disorders says getting used to hearing aids takes time and patience, but it’s worth the effort.

“Hearing health plays a critical role in people’s overall health and well-being, ” says Dr. Linda Chous at UnitedHealthcare. “Untreated hearing loss can affect a person’s ability to stay connected to friends and family, contributing to social isolation, depression and lower income.”

Identifying the obstacles to wearing hearing aids may help lead to solutions and improved communications for everyone. Here are some common complaints doctors and caregivers hear and some ways to address them.

“Everything is too loud!”
Talk to the doctor about adjusting the volume. This may include several visits over a short period of time to find the right level. If natural sounds like rustling paper or water running are annoying, the Academy of Doctors of Audiology says give it time. It could take two to three weeks for the patient’s internal system to adjust. If that still doesn’t work, some people found success wearing just one hearing aid and positioning themselves in conversation to maximize the hearing side.

“They don’t fit right.”
Hearing aids can be uncomfortable at first. Talk to the audiologist about how to ease into wearing them for longer periods. It may take time to get used to the feeling.

“They don’t work in noisy places like restaurants.”
There are limitations to hearing aids, especially in big gatherings. This may make some people give up. The trick is to talk directly with one another while making eye contact.

“Do not try to have conversations from across the room, or from another room,” said Dr. Lisa Tseng of hi HealthInovations, a UnitedHealth Group division that sells high-tech, custom programmed hearing aids. “Don’t pretend to understand something that you have not heard well enough. Don’t expect to hear everything, especially if it’s really noisy in the room.”

Another option is to use assistive listening devices with the hearing aids. The Hearing Loss Association of America describes the assistive technology options.

“I just don’t want to.”
Despite all the time, effort and cost that went into getting the hearing aids, a stumbling block can still be denial of hearing loss. It can be an emotional part of aging. Take the time to talk to your loved one about what he or she is missing out on and concerns about pulling away from life. It can be like the grieving process – starting with denial and anger, and it can be like the grieving process – starting with denial and anger, and ending with the final phase of acceptance.

If your loved one is still not convinced, you could ask him or her to wear hearing aids for small amounts of time, like when you’re having conversations.

“Hearing loss can make communication frustrating for everyone. It is most frustrating for the person with the hearing loss. Be patient,” said Dr. Tseng.

Need more information? Our Medicare Made Clear blog posts outline signs of hearing loss and identify options to get fitted for hearing aids.


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