If you are one of the thousands of Canadians who use hearing aids, it's safe to say that you probably love having them and appreciate how they enhance your life.
Let's face it, hearing aids are our friends. They make things easier and bring the gift of sound to people who otherwise wouldn't be able to hear. And as the technology has improved, hearing aids have become less intrusive and more effective at differentiating between types of sounds.
So when hearing aids become old or need repair, the question of whether to fix or retire them can be a difficult one.
Jon Waterhouse, Manager of Professional Practice for Connect Hearing Canada says many people do struggle with the best course of action for hearing aids because there can sometimes be an emotional attachment to them.
“This may sound a bit surprising, but we have found that some people who are enjoying the benefits of hearing aids lived with hearing loss for a long time before taking the first step to come in and see us for a free hearing test.
Reasons for this vary from fear of the unknown or fear of cost, to not recognizing that they had a hearing issue in the first place,” says Waterhouse. According to National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, among adults aged 70 and older with hearing loss who could benefit from hearing aids, fewer than one in three (30 percent) has ever used them. Even fewer adults aged 20 to 69 (approximately 16 percent) who could benefit from wearing hearing aids have ever used them.
“So for many people, there are strong emotional feelings of relief, euphoria, appreciation and confidence at the ability to be able to pick up sounds again. And when those hearing aids begin to falter, there can be a sense of 'oh boy, here we go again' in their minds which can make the decision to fix or repair a difficult one,” says Waterhouse.
Sometimes, it's possible to attempt a repair yourself and if you're mechanically inclined and have the patience for it, it may not hurt to give it a try. According to Staten Island Audiological Services, there are some common hearing aid issues that you may be able to fix yourself, including replacing the battery, removing and reinserting your hearing aid, cleaning it, replacing the wax filter, opening and closing the battery compartment or checking your input settings. The article went on to say that hearing aid repair costs can vary depending on several factors: Whether or not the hearing aid is still under warranty, the extent of damage to the hearing aid, and the cost of replacement parts for your hearing aid. So it never hurts to try and address an issue yourself if you can.
No matter what, Waterhouse says it's never good to feel overwhelmed – when in doubt, seek a professional opinion. Waterhouse explained that Connect Hearing encourages people to visit for a free hearing test so that you can understand what is going on with your ears. But those technicians are also available to answer questions about hearing aids, and the best course of action for devices that may need to change.
“We want people to know that we understand hearing aids and what they mean to you,” says Waterhouse. “Our doors are always open to assist you with questions about hearing loss and hearing aids. If it's time to replace the old ones, do not worry. Our technicians will work with you to find something that you will love even more.”