Q: Why do some people love their hearing aids and other people seem to hate them?
A: A patient’s level of satisfaction with their hearing aids depends on a number of different factors, including: type/degree of hearing loss, physical fit, appearance, level of technology, etc. It’s important that the patient be fit with hearing aids that are appropriate for their hearing loss and lifestyle. But selecting the proper hearing instrument is just the beginning.
One of the most important parts of a successful hearing aid fit is the programming. Digital hearing aids must be told how to react to different sounds. This is where I often see room for improvement, and where I feel a lot of hearing aid clinicians drop the ball. On many occasions, new patients have come to me complaining about their existing hearing aids, only to find out their hearing aids are fine – they’re just programmed inaccurately. Many clinicians program hearing aids using the manufacturer’s default settings. But research shows, because of personal preferences and differences in ear canal shape, the default settings are far from ideal. After several minutes of reprogramming, and verification using real-ear microphones, they’re like a totally different pair of hearing aids.
Answered by Dr. Matt Perry, Au.D. – audiologist and owner of Harmony Hearing & Audiology, located in Festival at Bel Air, 5 Bel Air S Pkwy, Ste. 1411, Bel Air, MD 21015 – (410)569-5999