Hearing aids are a wonderful invention that has managed to help a significant amount of people around the world. The number of people who experience hearing loss is gradually increasing each year, and hearing aids are becoming a necessity for a good percentage of them. The loss of hearing can severely impact the way a person interacts with the world around them. Having a device that can help people regain some form of hearing is extremely important for improving the quality of life for many people.
According to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), age is the primary cause of hearing loss among adults aged 20 to 69, with the highest amount of hearing loss in the 60 to 69 age group. Furthermore, nearly 25% of adults in the United States aged 65 to 74 and 50% of those who are 75 and older have some form of hearing loss. Hearing aids may very likely be beneficial for these individuals. The NIDCD even states that over 28.8 million American adults could benefit from the use of hearing aids.
That said, the number of people using hearing aids is steadily climbing. Market data has even revealed that one-third of people who are dealing with hearing loss wear hearing aids. The report also claims 83% of individuals who wear hearing aid report being satisfied with their hearing aid.
Individuals dealing with hearing loss will find a hearing aid as an essential tool that helps them hear better. Today’s devices have become more sleek and sophisticated to offer the wearer a more convenient way of hearing the world around them. However, there are some common issues and side effects that come with wearing hearing aids. Getting used to wearing hearing aids and the sounds they amplify is something that most people have to overcome when first using them.
Let’s go over some of the common issues surrounding hearing aids and what potential issues you can expect to deal with while wearing them.
One of the most common problems wearers of hearing devices need to prepare for is battery life. Hearing aids require miniature batteries as the main power source. Usually, the audiologist will explain which hearing aid battery type suits your device and shows you how to install them. However, one of the most frustrating aspects of these devices is how quickly the battery drains. Older adults have also expressed how the batteries are hard to get in and out of the hearing aid.
Depending on the model of the hearing aid, batteries, capacity, and how long they are in use, they can last anywhere from 3 to 22 days. That can be an issue for plenty of people when they are out and about in society, and their hearing aids stop working due to battery drain.
One thing that is recommended to many first-time wearers of these devices is to carry around spare batteries to replace the drained one when this situation occurs. That way, you won’t have to wait until you get home to replace them, especially if you were about to engage in a meeting for work or while out socializing with friends. Furthermore, take some time to find out what could be draining your battery quicker. Knowing what actions you are doing to drain your battery quicker can help you think of ideas to preserve them so that they can last longer, especially in important situations.
Earwax is something that everyone naturally produces within their ears. An excessive amount of earwax can block out the hearing aids microphone, and other essential parts, which could impede the device’s overall performance. That means there will be times when your hearing aid may not work as effectively as it should due to earwax build-up.
To prevent this, make sure to frequently clean your ears of these earwax build-ups. Cleaning your ears on a regular basis will prevent ear wax from building up over time. That means you won’t have to concern yourself too much about clogging any of the delicate parts in the hearing aid and ensures your ears receive the quality hearing it needs.
Furthermore, make sure to gently wipe the hearing aid clean once you have removed it from your ear. If you are unsure of how to clean the hearing aid properly, consider consulting a hearing health professional since you don’t want to damage it during the cleaning process. You can purchase hearing aid cleaning kits for the maintenance of your hearing aids in specialty stores and online.
Another significant concern that hearing aid users need to deal with is getting moisture inside of the device. There will be a point in time when the hearing aid comes in contact with moisture, whether it’s during the rain, adjusting them after washing your hands, swimming pool, or through exercising. Many people using hearing aids worry about getting an excessive amount of moisture inside of their hearing aids and damaging it in the process. Moisture may also cause it to fall out.
The newer models of hearing aids are usually capable of handling moisture far better than older ones. Manufacturers have taken moisture and other factors into consideration when developing these devices. However, there are some steps you should still take to ensure your hearing aid remains in good condition. Whenever the device has come into contact with moisture, take it off, and open up the battery compartment. Leave it out for a while to dry up any of the moisture that has accumulated. Just make sure not to leave it resting on a wet or unsanitary surface when the device is not in use.
Additionally, wash and thoroughly dry your hands before handling the hearing aid or batteries. Any substances you may have accumulated on your hands could potentially impact the longevity of your hearing aid.
One issue that has popped up for users of these devices is the feedback experience. Usually, this occurs because of the hearing aid picking up its own operating sounds or unwanted background noise. The pick up of operating sounds usually happens when something is rubbing against them, which amplifies the noise-causing a jarring, high-pitched sound. Some hearing aids do come in with a feedback elimination feature built into them.
However, if yours is not one of these types of devices, then you need to make sure that you do not turn on your hearing aid until it’s in your ear. It is also crucial that your hearing aid actually fits into your ears. If you are still experiencing issues with your devices, it’s best to get in contact with a hearing professional for assistance.
Older hearing aids usually require that the user regularly adjusts their volume, whether they are speaking on the phone, listening to music, or sitting among a group of people during a loud party. New wearers of these devices are usually concerned about having to constantly adjust their hearing aid throughout the day, drawing attention to the fact that they are wearing a hearing aid due to the negative social stigma associated with them.
The newer hearing aid models are capable of automatically adjusting to the wearer’s surroundings. That lowers the amount of time someone spends managing the volume control. Some devices even come with remote controls that offer the user to discreetly control the volume. However, some new users may continue to worry about dealing with adjusting their volume discreetly.
Since hearing aids are small and intricate devices, many people are concerned about easily breaking them from dropping them on the floor or stepping on them. There is also the issue of covering the cost of a replacement if a hearing aid does malfunction. While these devices are not indestructible by any means, taking care of them should lower the risk of any malfunction occurring.
A question many new users have about hearing aids is how they will adjust to using one when they are sleeping. Most people would not want to take them out entirely, especially if they need to hear the cries of their children, smoke detectors, or an alarm clock. Fortunately, there are hearing aids that can be worn 24/7, even during sleeping hours. These devices can be equipped to be worn for months at a time without needed removal, providing the necessary listening experience whenever needed.
Unfortunately, headaches are a common experience for people who are new to using a hearing aid. The brain needs some time to adjust to the acoustic environment provided by the hearing device. Usually, first-timers will experience some dizziness and headaches when wearing these for the first time. To make your mind adjust more quickly to using a hearing aid, you should wear it often.
If these headaches continue to persist and are causing irritation, you may need to make some adjustments to the setting of the device. You should also take a one-hour break if you get a headache from the device or start to feel tired from using the device. Severe headaches are not common but not unheard of from people who have used hearing aids. If you think you need further assistance, contacting a hearing health professional is advisable.
Discomfort and itchiness
Ears come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and sensitivity. For some people, a hearing aid may fit perfectly enough that they may forget that they are even wearing one of the devices. Some people may even forget to take them off before a shower or bedtime. However, there are cases where someone’s hearing aids may not fit them well enough, which could cause them to experience discomfort or itchiness in the ears.
If someone has sensitive ears or a skin condition, a hearing aid could cause itchiness. While the devices may not aggravate the skin condition, a prevailing itch could cause the wearer to believe the hearing aid is the source behind the problem. In some cases, using soothing lotion usually helps resolve this issue. However, you could attempt to change the hearing aid to another model that fits your ears. If your ears start to feel sore, it could be due to the improper fitting of the hearing device. The parts can be modified or remade to meet your specific dimensions. An audiologist can provide you with answers that can improve the comfort of wearing a hearing aid.
While hearing aids are an excellent piece of technology capable of helping people who are experiencing hearing loss issues, they do have a barrier in place that makes them difficult to acquire for most people. The price for a hearing aid piece is quite costly, with the price ranging between $1,000 to 6,000 for each hearing aid. Of course, it all depends on which type of hearing aid you decide to purchase since they vary technologically from each other. The high cost of these devices is usually one of the main reasons why most people are not getting the help they need from the device.
The stigma associated with hearing aids
Some people refuse to wear hearing aids because they equate it with old age or a disability, which is not entirely true. There are numerous amounts of younger people who are suffering from hearing loss and use hearing aids. NIDCD reports that 2-3 out of every 1,000 children in the United States are born with some form of hearing loss.
While there are many younger people with hearing loss, it is still perceived by most as something that only occurs in older people. The idea of wearing a hearing aid can be embarrassing for younger people and prevents them from seeking treatment and acquiring a pair of hearing aids.
Research conducted in 2010 focuses on the issue of stigma and hearing loss and how it affects a person’s decision to wear a hearing device. The research discovered that perceived stigma did influence whether people with hearing loss acquired hearing aids and how they adapted to the use of them. The participants of this research expressed concerns about being viewed as old or anxious about being stared at by people if they see them wearing a hearing aid.
Hearing aids have managed to provide people with the opportunity to regain some of their hearing so that they can better interact with the world around them. While these devices have some problems attached to them, the benefits they provide are far more important than these minor inconveniences. These issues can usually be resolved by taking proper precautions and speaking to an audiologist or ENT for guidance. If you have questions concerning hearing aids, contact an audiologist or ENT who can help answer your questions on these issues and potential side effects.