Millions of Americans wear hearing aids as a treatment for the dangers of hearing loss, from social isolation to increased risk of cognitive decline. Fortunately, the vast majority of hearing aid users benefit from using them: 83 percent of hearing aid wearers say that they are “very satisfied” with their devices.
Nevertheless, there are very real problems with hearing aids that people with hearing loss should be aware of. In this article, we’ll go over 6 of the most common hearing aid problems and issues, as well as solutions for each one.
Hearing Aid Problem #1: Potential Stigma
Nearly 29 million Americans could benefit from wearing hearing aids, but only a minority of people with hearing loss actually use them. One of the main reasons why people with hearing loss don’t use hearing aids is the stigma or self-consciousness associated with wearing them. Potential hearing aid users worry that the devices will make them look “old,” or cause people to treat them differently.
Solution: Today’s hearing aids look very different from the bulky, cumbersome models of years past. There are now multiple types of hearing aids available, including more discreet versions such as “completely-in-the-canal” (CIC) hearing aids and “invisible-in-the-canal” (IIC) hearing aids. Thanks to technological advancements, traditional behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids have become smaller and more discreet as well. Plus, wearing a hearing aid that helps restore your hearing is likely much less stigmatizing than feeling left out of conversations or having to ask people to repeat themselves.
Hearing Aid Problem #2: High Costs
Another major reason why people don’t wear hearing aids: the high cost of the devices. The average price of a single hearing aid is over $2,300 (which equates to more than $4,600 for a pair, if you need them for both ears). This figure can go even higher for premium hearing aids with advanced features such as directional microphones, speech enhancement, advanced noise cancellation, and Bluetooth and smartphone connectivity.
Unfortunately, many people who need hearing aids have limited budgets that make the expenses of hearing aids challenging to afford. What’s more, original Medicare does not cover the cost of hearing aids. Medicare Advantage Plans can help defray some of the costs of hearing aids, but members still need to pay an average of 79 percent of the costs out of pocket. And with the average lifespan of hearing aids being only 3 to 7 years, it’s likely that you’ll need to purchase multiple devices.
Solution: With cost being an essential concern for many hearing aid users, finding affordable hearing aids is a must. That’s where MDHearing comes in. We offer high-quality hearing aids that include advanced features such as rechargeability and Bluetooth connectivity—all for a fraction of the cost of other hearing aid providers.
MDHearing is an affordable hearing aid provider founded by an ear, nose, and throat doctor with a simple goal: give patients high-quality, FDA-registered hearing aids that fit their budgets. By selling directly to our customers, we cut out the markups and middlemen that cause other manufacturers to raise their hearing aid prices. MDHearing devices range from just $400 to $1,200 per pair and come with a 100% money-back guarantee.
Hearing Aid Problem #3: Limited Battery Life
Hearing aids are electronic devices, which means that they require batteries to operate (since you can’t walk around with them plugged in all the time). Traditionally, hearing aids have used disposable zinc-air batteries, also known as “button batteries” due to their round shape. The average lifespan of these batteries is somewhere between three days and three weeks, depending on the battery size and how much you use your hearing aid.
Of course, relying on disposable batteries for your hearing aid has one big problem: what happens if the battery runs out while you’re using it? If the hearing aid loses power at a critical moment, you could miss an important conversation, fail to hear an alarm or warning signal, or any number of serious consequences.
Solution: There are multiple ways that you can address the problem of limited battery life for your hearing aids:
- Carrying spare hearing aid batteries with you is a smart idea in case you unexpectedly lose power. (But don’t store the batteries in your pocket or wallet—they could be affected by the heat from your body, or damaged by other items such as keys.)
- Buying rechargeable hearing aids, such as the MDHearing VOLT+, can save you from the inconvenience of losing power unexpectedly. Rechargeable hearing aids contain lithium-ion batteries that can hold a charge for at least 24 hours, with a lifespan of roughly five years. Most rechargeable hearing aid users recharge the battery when they go to sleep at night so that their hearing aids will never run out of juice during the day.
Hearing Aid Problem #4: Active Lifestyle and Moisture
If you lead an active lifestyle, you might be concerned about how your hearing aids will fit into the picture. Playing sports and exercising can create a number of issues for hearing aid wearers: the devices might slip off, experience harsh sound distortion from wind, or be damaged by dirt and debris. You might be especially worried about the devices coming into contact with moisture—whether it’s from sweat, swimming, showering, or rain.
Solution: As discussed above, hearing aids now come in more shapes and sizes than ever before, making it easier to find a device that’s compatible with your active lifestyle. If you don’t want your hearing aid to bump against your bike helmet, for example, you should look for “completely-in-the-canal” (CIC) hearing aids, which lack a behind-the-ear component.
You can counteract moisture issues by looking for waterproof hearing aids and water-resistant hearing aids, such as the MDHearing VOLT+. In particular, focus on devices that are rated IP57 or higher. These designations mean that they can withstand small particles like dust and sand, while also surviving extended submersion in water.
Hearing Aid Problem #5: Feedback and Sound Issues
Hearing aids can suffer from technical issues such as harsh feedback (a sharp whistling or squealing noise) and sound issues. For example, the sound coming from your hearing aids may seem distorted, too loud, too soft, muffled, or choppy. You might also be frustrated by the need to adjust your hearing aid in different situations (e.g. in a crowded restaurant vs. at the dinner table).
Solution: Hearing aid feedback and sound issues have many possible sources, but here are a few suggestions:
- Hearing aid feedback occurs when the device “hears” its own sounds and re-amplifies them, creating a feedback loop that gets louder and louder. If you’re experiencing feedback, you may have an improper fit or excess earwax. You can also mitigate feedback issues by selecting a hearing aid with a feedback cancellation feature.
- Sound issues may come from sources such as obstruction by a foreign object (e.g. dirt or earwax), corroded batteries, and misconfigured settings. Your hearing aid provider should be able to help you troubleshoot the problem. Many hearing aids also come with features and settings that automatically adapt to your environment (e.g. quiet or noisy) to help improve sound quality.
- Pick a hearing aid provider with excellent customer service and a generous return policy, so that you can get a replacement or refund in the case of any issues. MDHearing has a U.S.-based customer support team available by phone or email, as well as free shipping and a 45-day risk-free trial.
Hearing Aid Problem #6: Uncomfortable Fit
Last but not least, hearing aid users might have fit issues and discomfort when first starting to wear their devices. To a certain extent, this is normal: just like wearing a new pair of glasses, your brain and body need time to adjust to this new reality.
However, hearing aid fit and discomfort issues should only be temporary, not persistent. For example, some hearing aid wearers initially may feel overwhelmed as they get used to this new sound experience—however, there are some very good auditory rehabilitation programs which can help with acclimatization.
Solution: If you’re having problems with the fit of your hearing aids, consider the following actions:
- Speak with a hearing aid professional who can help adjust the device’s position or settings.
- If it’s your ear canal in particular that’s bothering you, try experimenting with different tip styles. For example, MDHearing offers multiple sizes of our ComfortTIPs—hearing aid tips that are shaped like your ear canal—and traditional domes. Some hearing aid users also have a custom ear mold made for them by a third-party company.
- Finally, it’s smart to choose a hearing aid provider with a free trial period and free returns, so that you can try out more than one model if necessary.
Although problems with hearing aids aren’t uncommon, the good news is that there’s almost always a solution. Of course, when you encounter problems with hearing aids, your first step should be to speak with the hearing aid provider’s customer service team, who can help diagnose the issue and walk you through your next steps.
At MDHearing, it’s easy to get help with any hearing aid problems you encounter as our customer. MDHearing prides itself on having a dedicated, U.S.-based customer support team and on-staff audiologists available to help via phone and email, as well as free shipping and a 45-day free trial. MDHearing user Joan P. writes:
The customer service has been outstanding, very helpful. They continue to help solve the problem and give solutions. Out of 5 stars, I would give them 6.”
MDHearing reviewer Jerry G. says:
Great product. Every bit as good as, if not better than, my $4,000 hearing aids that I had been using. One of these expensive aids was damaged, and rather than have it repaired or replaced I opted to try MDHearing. I would recommend this product to anyone struggling to hear.”
To find out if MDHearing is right for you, get started today with our free online hearing test, which takes less than 8 minutes to complete. You can also sign up for a free phone hearing screening. Once you’ve finished, MDHearing’s hearing aid specialists can help interpret your results and walk through your options with you.
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