Testing works but the prescription might differ
Just as you would not expect BOSE quality reproduction from the single in-built speaker on a Dansette, buying ‘cheap’ hearing aids does not equate to being able to hear better. There is a solitary hearing aid solution for everyone but it is customised to meet that individual’s requirements, which include its fitment, because, like fingerprints, our ears both inside and out are differently shaped; the tonal quality, which needs to be ‘tuned’ to each user; and several specific features that each wearer might demand.
The type of hearing loss can change the application:
- Volumetric – hearing aids can only amplify volume
- Receptive – hearing aids cannot improve reception
Only by taking a hearing test can either of these conditions be identified. A person that has little difficulty in speech discrimination scores but lacks in pure tonal audiometry will benefit most from a hearing aid. However, reverse the situation and a hearing aid will not be as helpful.
Hearing aids can be imprecise, as well as costly; ironically, they may be less expensive, yet work perfectly. If all the sounds that you hear are garbled and messed-up, a hearing aid will only provide louder garbled and messed-up sounds. In addition, it can take upwards of three months to become familiar and comfortable wearing hearing aids. The wearer may find that changing the type of hearing device some months later will provide a better solution.
Alternatively, for people suffering from severe, or profound hearing loss, a cochlear implant will supplant the conventional hearing aid. Its installation involves a minor surgical procedure, as it bypasses the defective inner ear, instead stimulating the auditory nerve by way of electrical impulses. Although the device is internal, it still requires an external (BTE) device, which is a speech processor. A cochlear implant requires mapping and several adjustments, before it can work effectively, but it is not recommended for people who function well with hearing aids.
Therefore, hearing aids do not work for everyone.