Every day, every patient I see has a story. People don’t just wake up one day and think, “You know that Dr. Gnewikow seems like a pleasant fellow, I think I’ll go see him.” The journey to pursuing hearing care is usually much longer and wrought with denial, resistance and sometimes fear.
On average, individuals with hearing loss wait seven years from the time they identify a hearing problem before they see an Audiologist.
Why Do We Wait to Visit a Hearing Specialist?
“Hearing aids are for old people.”
“Hearing aids will make me look older.”
I could go on. People associate hearing aids with aging and some are embarrassed at the idea. My first response to that is to ask, “What is more embarrassing? A tiny electronic device in your ear, or missing out on conversations, people thinking you are ignoring them or asking a question that was just answered?”
Today’s hearing aids for the most part are small and discrete. When fitted properly, many are virtually invisible. As a hearing specialist, I have found that younger patients (35-50 year olds) are much less concerned with other people’s perception of their use of hearing aids than are my older patients. My theory is that younger people are quicker to embrace technology that will help them better communicate or perform their jobs. To many of my young patients, hearing aids are tools ― no different than glasses or a Bluetooth headset.
2. “My Hearing is Not that Bad.”
I see patients who tell me that their hearing is not that bad and when I test them, sometimes that is true, but other times, there is a significant loss.
“I can hear fine most of the time, it’s just that some people mumble.”
Most people tend to lose their hearing for high-frequencies first. Losing high-pitches is not a loss of volume, but a loss of clarity from not hearing softer consonant sounds like “s,” “sh,” “f” or “th”. Thus, it may seem like hearing is not that bad, yet a person with high-frequency hearing loss is constantly saying “Huh?” or misunderstanding words due to a loss of clarity.
3. Bad Stories about Hearing Aids
Despite what the full-page newspaper ads and junk mail from hearing aid companies say, successful use of hearing aids has very little to do with what model or brand name you choose. In independent research studies comparing performance with different brands of hearing aids, it is extremely rare that one brand is significantly better than another when the fitting is done properly and equivalently.
80% of how well hearing aids work and the vast majority of the gripes and problems with hearing aids have nothing to do with the hearing aid. The best hearing aids in the world will only work well if they are fitted properly and programmed specifically for the individual, the acoustical properties of his or her ears and the individual’s lifestyle. So, if your friends gripe about their hearing aids, odds are, they are not set appropriately.
Bad experiences with hearing aids are more about the person doing the fitting or “selling” of the hearing aid than they are about the instrument itself. Appropriately fit hearing aids should never be painful, uncomfortable or whistle.
There are plenty of success stories when hearing aids are fitted appropriately. Check out some of the comments we have received from those we have had the opportunity to help at Advanced Hearing Solutions.
4. “I Don’t know if Hearing Aids Will Help Me.”
It is federally mandated that hearing aids have a trial period. If hearing aids do not work satisfactorily, they can be returned, usually within thirty days, for a refund. It is not federally mandated that the trial period is free, and many offices charge a restocking fee if hearing aids are returned. I’ve heard of restocking fees from around $300 to as much as $700.
While restocking fees are not unreasonable to help cover time spent with a patient, at Advanced Hearing Solutions, we do a free trial with no restocking fee. That way our patients know for sure how hearing aids will benefit them before committing to any expense.
I understand that buying hearing aids in Nashville is a significant investment. However, if we look at the amount of cost versus the time of use and benefit, hearing aids may be the most cost-beneficial item we own. For example, an average pair of hearing aids costs around $4000, but the average pair of hearing aids will also last 5-8 years.
If we look at cost over time, that is about $600 per year (assuming 6.5 years of life), or $50 per month for something that is used approximately 12 hours per day. If we break down into hours of beneficial use, it costs about 14 cents per hour. Okay, I know I am pushing it a little bit here, but we regularly pay way more per hour, day or month for things that we use way less. I pay more for cable, my cell phone, dress shoes and my vehicle.
If you are having trouble hearing, don’t hesitate to call a hearing specialists. Advanced Hearing Solutions’ award-winning audiologists want to help you hear life, so you can experience more fullfilment and better communication with friends and family. Learn more about the types of hearing loss in this article.