5 Reasons to Give Hearing Aids Another Try

Hearing aids are very personal and can often seem complicated. Since every individual’s hearing loss and subsequent needs are unique, getting hearing aids “just right” the first time can be a challenge. Veterans can become frustrated with the process and may give up a little too soon. We’ve all heard the following reasons why people don’t want hearing aids or don’t want to give hearing aids another try:

  • They amplify noises that are not pleasant to hear.
  • It’s difficult to adjust the settings.
  • They’re too expensive.
  • They’re just uncomfortable.
  • They make a person feel older or less capable.
  • They don’t get rid of a person’s tinnitus.

While these are legitimate complaints, they are quickly becoming issues of the past, thanks to advancements in technology. In the last decade, hearing aid manufacturers have developed new materials and innovations to address these common concerns. It’s now possible to see significant improvements in hearing aids every couple of years. If you have hearing loss but haven’t used them in a while, here a few good reasons to give hearing aids another try.

Technology is improving faster than ever! Will you give hearing aids another try?

1. Improved Sound Quality

For years, some hearing aids were known to make whistling noises from sounds being re-amplified as they exit the ear. People have also experienced unwanted sounds when their hearing aid(s) were not able to pinpoint the individual sound to be amplified or canceled. (Imagine trying to hold a conversation in a noisy restaurant and instead of hearing the people at your table, you hear annoying sounds coming from the kitchen.) More and more, hearing aids are equipped with new features that improve sound quality, such as feedback cancellers. They may also offer:

  • Better fit to reduce feedback.
  • Programmable options that amplify desired sounds and minimize noise.
  • Sound-masking technology that can cancel out persistent noises caused by tinnitus.

2. Advanced Technology

Older hearing aids require frequent adjustments to function in different environments, but advancements in technology have made hearing aids perform better without the fuss. When considering new hearing aids, here are a couple of things to look for:

  • Hearing aids that automatically adjust to sound conditions.
  • Programmable hearing aids. Audiologists are now trained to program digital hearing aids to match a patient’s hearing profile. Ask your audiologist to program your hearing aids. If your hearing aids aren’t functioning the way you like, schedule an appointment to have them adjusted. You may have to return a few times to get them “just right” but if you are patient, it will be worth it!

3. Affordable Options

Although hearing aids are still a bit pricey and typically not covered by insurance, there may be ways for you to afford them right now at a lower cost (or even at no cost):

  • Depending on your eligibility within the VA, you may be able to receive new hearing aids through your VA Audiologist every 4-5 years.
  • Revisit your VA Benefits to see if hearing aids are covered. If you were rejected for hearing-loss benefits from the VA in the past, talk to a Veterans Service Officer (VSO) about reapplying. With expert advice and support from a VSO, you may be able to qualify now. If you don’t already have a VSO, you can learn how to find one here.
  • As the market expands and competition increases, costs tend to decrease.

4. Greater Comfort and Capabilities

Hearing aids can be uncomfortable—especially while using the phone—but new technology is changing that fast. Look for:

  • New hearing aid models that are smaller and more comfortable than ever. There are even tiny hearing aids that fit completely inside your ear! Of course, your audiologist will recommend the style and size that best fits your specific needs.
  • New hearing aids with Bluetooth™ capabilities. These allow you to connect them with other devices, such as audio loops, personal microphones, telephones, stereos, televisions – and even certain models of captioned telephones (such as the Hamilton® CapTel® 2400i). Find out how to qualify for a Hamilton CapTel 2400i captioned telephone here.

5. Design and Perception Changes

Hearing aids are not considered to be stylish the way eyeglasses are these days, but as designs change and more people wear hearing aids, the way society views them will change, too. Look for:

  • Newer hearing aid styles that are smaller and nearly invisible.
  • More choices. As more people wear hearing aids, new styles will become available.
  • More people wearing hearing aids, reducing the stigma once associated with them.

Still not sure if you’re ready to give hearing aids another try? Here’s one more consideration. When you receive your new hearing aids, you can donate your old ones to an organization that will clean, repair and distributes them to someone who needs hearing aids but doesn’t have the means to afford them. Contact your local Lion’s Club or a Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) state or local chapter to find a hearing aid donation center in your area. They may also let you know about other programs that accept hearing aids near you.

Share your story! Tell us about your experiences with hearing aids and let us know if you will give hearing aids another try.

8 comments

  • J0hn R. Yanick says:

    My earing aids came from c astle point V.A hospital,the point I have is they amplifie all noises, in a roomful of people I can’t hear any one person it all is amplified.

    • Jennifer Phistry says:

      Thank you for commenting, John. Sorry to hear that your hearing aids aren’t doing what you need them to do. First, tell your audiologist about the problems you are having and ask him or her to adjust the settings on your hearing aids, which may only require a quick appointment.

      Find out if your hearing aids have settings that you can adjust depending on your environment. For example, many new hearing aids have “directionality” allowing you to choose whether the hearing aids focus on sounds in the entire room, or on a specific part of the room (perhaps where someone is speaking).

      Consider asking your audiologist about a PLD, or a Personal Listening Device (also available at the VA). If your hearing aids are Bluetooth® compatible (ask your audiologist if you’re not sure), you can attach the personal microphone to the lapel of the person you’re talking with so that it can transmit what the person says to your hearing aids.

      If you have hearing aids that are about 4 years old, ask when you’re eligible for a new pair. Advancements are made all the time with hearing aids. Newer hearing aids are designed to filter out background noise and amplify the sounds you need to hear. If you get new hearing aids, be sure your audiologist programs your hearing aids to match your hearing profile so that you will get the best results. It may take up to 4 or 5 visits to get them “just right.” The key is to keep going back until your hearing aids are doing what you need them to do.

  • Michael Ennesser says:

    If you are receiving VA monthly benefits for a hearing loss, can you still qualify for VA hearing aids?

    • Jennifer Phistry says:

      Thank you for asking, Michael. If you are receiving monthly benefits for hearing loss, it’s likely you qualify for hearing aids from the VA. Set up an appointment with a VA Audiologist who can test your hearing to see if hearing aids would indeed help. At your appointment, describe what you do normally (for example, watch TV, use the phone, shop for groceries) and when you have the most difficulty hearing (for example, in restaurants, during group conversations, at sporting events), so that your doctor can decide what might work best for your lifestyle. If that includes hearing aids, this information will help determine which hearing aids are right for you and will allow your audiologist to program them to meet your needs.

  • Camille Devaux says:

    It makes sense that you are getting a hearing aid. This might make it easier to make sure that you are getting the right help with your aids, like having them cleaned. My uncle would love knowing this as he looks into getting a hearing aid. https://www.wakefieldhearing.com/products-and-services

  • Tyson Coolidge says:

    It’s great that innovations have been made to address common issues with hearing aids. My mom has been telling me about how she’s been having issues hearing when someone’s been talking to her recently. I’ll share this informaiton with her so that she can look into her options for professeionals who can help her get some hearing aids.
    https://www.acousticonaudiology.net/services.html

  • Patrick S Gilmore says:

    I am on my 2nd set of PHONAK hearing aids. I believe they are, like the 1st pair, of good quality. They work fantastically for the first 5 months or so. Then performance rolls off and batteries seem to have a shorter life. within a couple of months, even daily battery changes don’t help. I put the aids away for a month or two. Get them out, put in fresh batteries and everything works again. The cycle repeats more quickly. A couple of cycles and I quit in frustration. Ultimately the aids go into a drawer. I try out some Walmart devices – total amplification, just too much. Need selectivity.
    Wait a couple of years and get a hearing test and a replacement pair of aids. Same brand, same sequence. Maybe PHONAK isn’t as good as I thought.
    About 3 yrs on this pair. They reside in a drawer as did their predecessors.
    Considering implants but need more info on the subject. I am not really anxious to go that route.
    Meantime, Daughter goes everywhere with me and keeps me apprised of what is being said. Raises hell with my love life.
    Any constructive thoughts?

    • Jennifer Phistry says:

      Hello, Patrick. Thank you for commenting. We are sorry that you are experiencing problems with your hearing aids. You can find Phonak product support here to help you troubleshoot and find a solution on your own. However, when it comes to performance issues like the ones you’ve described, it’s probably best to consult the hearing health professional who provided the hearing aids. He or she may know how to resolve the issues right away and will know where to send the hearing aids should they need repair. If you go through the VA, a VA audiologist can also “prescribe” hearing aid accessories that may help with your hearing aids if needed. We hope this information helps and that the issues are resolved quickly so that you can enjoy the benefits of wearing hearing aids again soon.

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