We talk a lot about the newest and “bestest” hearing aids. The smallest, smartest, strongest hearing aids. They can connect to the iPhone, stream phone calls, and actively learn your listening habits. What we don’t talk about a lot are the most simple hearing aids. Ever heard of KISS? That stands for Keep It Simple Stupid…and I bet we all could stand some of that advice every once in a while.
Which hearing aids are appropriate for people with physical or mental challenges? Or for any patient who is not interested in “bells and whistles”? Many of my patients don’t need the smallest, smartest, or newest hearing aids, they are looking for simple hearing aids. I have patients with Parkinson’s, arthritis, dementia, deformed ears and disabled hands. I ask lots of questions up front to determine the best solution for my patient, and family is often times a huge help here in explaining their loved one’s specific challenges. It is not uncommon to get a discreet call ahead of an appointment time to let me know that their mother/father/sister will be in shortly, and that they have dementia. In all cases, I address information and questions directly to my patient as much as possible, to make sure that they feel respected and included in the whole process. Patients’ needs vary widely, but simple hearing aids can be a solution for many of them.
Some helpful accommodations:
I LOVE a “push button” volume control. It is much easier to activate than the traditional volume “wheel”, and with wireless hearing aids, you only need to push the button on
one hearing aid for it to change both aids simultaneously.
Remote Control- A convenient solution for anyone, but especially
those with dexterity issues, is a remote control. Turn the volume
up, down, or mute the devices with large easy to push buttons.
Retrieval line- This tab looks like a piece of fishing line with a ball at the end. It extends out of the hearing aid, giving the user a better grip to pull the hearing aid out. This can be lengthened and reinforced to make it easier to use.
Color coding- Making the right hearing aid red (think Red for Right) and the left hearing aid blue can help the patient or the caregiver recognize the correct ear more easily.
Larger surface area- Smaller is not always better. For patients with severe arthritis or other dexterity issues, I always recommend a larger aid. An In-The-Ear (ITE) hearing aid is one of the biggest and easiest to insert and remove.
Battery size- The bigger the battery, the long it will last and the easier it will be to remove and replace. A size 13 battery in an ITE can last for 2-3 weeks, where as a CIC with a size 10 battery might be less than a week and much more difficult to handle.
Extended insurance policies- Most hearing aids come with one to three years of warranty and insurance. This usually allows you to repair the hearing aid for free while it is under warranty and to only pay a deductible for a replacement if the hearing aid is completely lost. I always recommend extending the insurance policy once it expires for as long as possible to protect your investment.
Don’t change horses mid-stream- If a patient has had one style of hearing aid for many years and is experiencing cognitive difficulties, especially memory issues, I have found that sticking with the exact same exterior style of the aid makes the adjustment significantly easier.
Family involvement- This is key for patients who won’t be inserting or removing their hearing aids themselves. I can walk through the simple steps with their caregiver to make sure that all the important ones are covered.
If you are looking for simple hearing aids with the appropriate fit and accommodations for you or a loved one, give me a call. I would love to make this step easier for you. And if you are looking for sleek, discreet or even Bluetooth hearing aids, well I can help you there too!
Hi! I’m Madison. I’m a Hearing Instrument Specialist (like my mother). I’m observing, learning, absorbing and sharing as I become a part of this beautiful South Charlotte Hearing community. I want to know you! So please leave me comments if my posts are meaningful to you or teach you something new, and feel free to tweet me at @LevineHearing!
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