04 December 2009

Take control of your hearing aids

Your perception of technology greatly affects your relationship with your hearing aids. A thorough introduction and advice are extremely important in achieving the best hearing aid experience, according to a scientific study.

If you consider technology as something you can influence and control, you are more likely to be successful as a hearing aid user. If, on the other hand, you perceive technology and your hearing aids as foreign objects outside of your control, you will need more patience in adapting to them, and your likelihood of success will be less.

These are among the important findings in ’Coping with emergent hearing loss’, a dissertation by Susanne Bisgaard, an anthropologist who conducted interviews with a number of new hearing aid users.

The importance of good information
”People who find that they have influence on the technology they use, are more likely to follow-up and have their devices adjusted until they deliver the best possible performance. Those who are alien to technology are more likely to put up with less than perfect, and, in the worst cases, give up on their hearing aids,” explained Bisgaard.

“For this reason, we must be sure to tell new users that they can control the technology and that their devices are made to be adapted to their individual needs. It is equally important to let them know what kind of hearing to expect and that not everything will be like it was when their hearing was ‘normal.’”

“They must be made aware that discriminating sounds may still be problematic in group settings, such as at a party or business meeting with many participants. When getting hearing aids, you may suddenly hear sounds and noises you haven’t heard in years. This can be a bit overwhelming and annoying.”

More demanding audience
Bisgaard believes that while more people are gaining familiarity and becoming more demanding with respect to the technology, many, particularly in the older generation, will continue to regard advanced technology as outside of their control or influence.

Source: Coping with emergent hearing loss, Expectations and experiences of
adult, new hearing aid users; dissertation, Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt am Main, 2008

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