Nine out of 10 people with hearing loss can improve their hearing with the help of hearing aids. But even after investing in them, some Canadians continue to suffer from a reduced quality of life, explains Hearing Instrument Specialist, Edmond Ayvazyan of Hearing Aid Source Centers of Toronto, a commpany that offers free hearing aid assessments. This issue causes problems with balance, as well as undue stress and anxiety, resulting in detachment from social situations, decreased earning potential, depression, and accelerated onset of dementia.

“When a new client comes [in] seeking help for their hearing aid, we often hear, ‘I’ve spent all this money, I’ve been back several times, I have the technology but it’s not helping me when I need it most. I still can’t hear at a distance, a meeting, at church or the theatre,’” says Ayvazyan. Often, the clients he sees have been told to accept their hearing capacity as is, and that no further adjustments are possible with their hearing aids. At times, that’s correct, but most times, it’s not.

Ayvazyan sees two common problems with hearing aids: poor fit and improper tuning. Most people who don’t wear their hearing aids decide against it because of overall discomfort, limited use, poor sound quality, or improper volume. The great news is that many times these issues are often easily resolved.

Poor fit

Fit-related issues can be anything from a physical discomfort from wearing the hearing aids or poor sizing of the parts, to improper ‘plumbing’ which allows too much of the amplified sound to leak out of the ear canal, causing many hearing aid fittings to be under-amplified. A poor fit can also allow too much external background noise to leak into the ear canal, rendering all the speech enhancing and noise reduction properties of advanced hearing aids moot. Hearing aids with the correct fit should not cause feedback and should allow the listener to be comfortable wearing their device all day.

Improper tuning

Hearing aids must be tuned specifically for each listener based on their hearing test results. Sound-tuning issues can lead to the inability to hear and/or understand speech in several environments, especially noisy ones. Under-amplification, over-amplification, and even a distortion of the true sound are all attributed to tuning issues. Properly tuned hearing aids will make the listener forget that they are wearing a hearing aid.

Most often, Ayvazyan sees a combination of these two issues and believes that people who don’t wear their hearing aids can benefit from an assessment and adjustment without having to buy a new pair of hearing devices. Most adjustments are successful in just one visit.

If you feel you haven’t been getting the true extent of value from your hearing aids call or visit Hearing Aid Source to have your hearing aids assessed.