Health & Wellness

Common Issues With Hearing Aids—and Solutions

A lot of people have issues with wearing hearing aids. Here’s what might help

By Katrina Caruso

According to a study published in the International Journal of Audiology, 80% of adults aged 55–74 who should have a hearing aid don’t—and many of those who do have one don’t use it.

The problem with this is that people who experience hearing loss have a greater risk for dementia, because hearing loss affects not only ears but the brain and its grey matter. If a hearing problem goes uncorrected, it can be exacerbated and lead to other problems such as depression, mental fatigue, issues with balance, and even Alzheimer’s. So why don’t more people wear hearing aids?

1. They’re not cheap.

  • Solution: More audiologists are becoming more accessible financially, and you can actually shop around now for a better deal. The aids themselves are becoming more affordable, as well, with more options available on the web.

2. They’re ugly.

  • Solution: You might not have noticed, but hearing aids have been getting smaller and smaller—some can hardly even be noticed. Technology has advanced so far that some companies now offer aids that can stream music.

3. They don’t work.

  • Solution: Most experts say that it can take up to four months to get used to a hearing aid—so in this case, patience is a definitely a virtue. But some people who complain that the aids don’t work are referring to problems such as background noise: newer technologies can help clarify the difference between background noise and speech. Many companies offer products that can even be adjusted using an app now.

4. They’re not comfortable.

  • Solution: Once again, an aid takes getting used to, but there are things you can do to make sure the aids sit comfortably in your ear, like making sure that they are well inserted. Check out this site for more tips and tricks.

5. The batteries are difficult to handle.

  • Solution: A lot of people with dexterity issues have complained that they can’t handle the batteries because they’re too small. However, many companies are coming out with products that can be charged. If that’s not an option, ask your audiologist to help show you how to handle the batteries while you’re in their office.

Are you concerned that you might need a hearing aid? Check out this quiz.

Photo: iStock/kzenon.