Sometimes people with hearing loss are resistant to wearing their hearing aids even after bringing them home. Spouses, children, and grandchildren often ask us for advice on how to convince their husband/wife, mom/dad, grandma/grandpa to wear their hearing aids. So, if you are asking yourself, “How do I get my loved one to wear their hearing aids,” keep reading!
Why don’t people wear their hearing aids?
The first step is to understand why the person doesn’t want to wear their hearing aids. Some common reasons include:
- Difficulties putting them in – Older patients, especially those with dexterity issues, can struggle to put their hearing aids in their ears correctly.
- Embarrassment – It’s not uncommon for people to feel embarrassed that they need to wear hearing aids.
- No perceived benefit – Some patients don’t think they need hearing aids, or don’t feel that their hearing aids provide any (or enough) benefit.
- Discomfort – Are the hearing aids painful or uncomfortable inside the ears?
- Too loud – Does the wearer complain that the hearing aids are too loud?
- Forgetfulness – Some people simply have trouble remembering to put in their hearing aids each day.
How to help
Once you understand the reason why the person is resistant to wearing their hearing aids, you can formulate ways to help them adjust to wearing their hearing aids consistently.
If the hearing aids are physically uncomfortable inside the ears or if the volume is an issue, you may need to schedule a visit with your audiologist. Hearing aids should never be painful to wear. If they are causing pain, your audiologist may change to a different size or style of dome tip or to a custom ear mold so they fit better inside the ear canal.
If the volume feels too loud, most hearing aids can be adjusted by a button on the hearing aid itself, or by using an app. Keep in mind, it can take a few weeks for new hearing aid users to adjust to the sounds and volume of their new hearing aids. If the hearing aid user is still uncomfortable with the settings after a few weeks, definitely discuss this with the audiologist. They may need to make an adjustment to the hearing aid settings.
Lack of benefit
If the hearing aid user doesn’t think their hearing aids help, think about your own experiences communicating with that person. Do you notice a difference when you talk to the person with and without their hearing aids in? If so, let the person know! Encourage them to wear the devices by providing positive reinforcement when they’re wearing them. If you don’t notice a difference, check and make sure the devices are turned on and seem to be working properly.
This is also a good time to check and see if they are inserted into the ears properly. Some people struggle with getting the hearing aids deep enough inside the ear canal. If they are not worn properly, they will not work effectively. Most patients can be taught to put their hearing aids on themselves. Have them practice in front of a mirror until they are comfortable with the process. If the person lives in an assisted living facility, a nurse or staff member may be able to assist him/her with putting on their hearing aids each morning.
For the forgetful hearing aid user, help them come up with a routine. Choose one spot in the house where they will keep their hearing aid at nighttime. This should ideally be somewhere where they will be seen right away in the morning, such as a nightstand. If they are kept inside a drawer or cabinet, it will be easier to forget them. Any time the hearing aids are not inside the ears, they should be placed in this designated spot so they don’t get misplaced.
Many people with hearing loss feel embarrassed to wear their hearing aids. This is unfortunate, because there are millions of people in the USA living with hearing loss and wearing hearing aids. Wearing hearing aids to help you hear should not be any more embarrassing than wearing glasses to help you see.
Modern day hearing aids are smaller and less noticeable than ever. Remind the person that the majority of people they encounter will not even realize they are wearing a hearing aid. Provide encouragement to the person that wearing their hearing aids will help restore their quality of living. Overcoming embarrassment can take time, but having a supportive family can make the process easier.
Adjusting to new hearing aids is difficult for many people. The first step, is putting them on. Sometimes, it takes the assistance of family to get loved ones to wear their hearing aids regularly. With some patience and encouragement, even people who are resistant to wearing their hearing aids initially, will adjust and become satisfied hearing aid users.