Hearing aid amplification improves quality of life and provides significant benefit for people with hearing loss. Unfortunately, only some 20 to 25 percent of people with hearing loss seek amplification, apparently due to cost, stigma, and perceived limits of amplification (Walden et al , 2009). Walden and colleagues (2009) reported that people with hearing loss must recognize and accept their hearing problems and the primary "ingredient" (with regard to successful amplification) is the patient's belief that they will benefit from amplification.
Behrens et al (2011) reported first time users (FTUs) often go through experiences and processes which generally include (abstracted here):
- Unwanted attention to themselves due to misunderstanding;
- Suspicion of hearing loss;
- Acknowledgement of their hearing problem;
- Contemplation and realization of the consequences of hearing loss;
- Admitting and understanding the hearing problem;
- Admitting and understanding that hearing aids may be the solution.
Behrens and colleagues (2011) found (contrary to popular traditional wisdom) benefit from and acclimatization to hearing aid amplification (high performance, open fit RITE) can and does occur quickly for many FTUs.
Forty-three people (mean age 68 years) were evaluated across two sites. All participants presented with symmetric mild-moderate sensorineural hearing loss. Speech in noise tests and tests of listening effort were used to assess progress. Immediate benefits were realized across multiple parameters (aided thresholds decreased, improved performance in deleterious signal-to-noise ratios, perception of own voice) and these benefits continued to improve (slightly) across the 30 day test period. The average daily use time was more than ten hours.
For More Information, References, and Recommendations
Behrens T, Kreisman, B, Schulte M, Weile JN. (2011): Meeting the First Time User Challenge. Hearing Review. December.
Walden TC, Walden BE, Summers V, Grant KW. (2009) A Naturalistic Approach to Assessing Hearing Aid Candidacy and Motivating Hearing Aid Use. Journal of the American Academy of Audiology (20)10:607-620.