I have some patients with hearing loss who, for whatever reasons, are not ready for hearing aids. I’m wondering if an assistive device could help them overcome their reluctance to use amplification.
Great question, and the answer for many patients is yes.
We know that there are many people with hearing loss who do not use hearing aids. Estimates have been anywhere from 14% (Chien & Lin, 2012) to 50% (Kochkin, 2012), depending on how you look at the data. Regardless of the exact numbers, there are millions of people around the world today who need hearing assistance and are not getting it.
The reasons for not wearing hearing aids are probably as many as there are individuals with hearing loss. Kochkin (2007) surveyed adults with self-reported hearing loss who did not use hearing aids. Among the many reasons reported for not using hearing aids was the belief by individuals that their hearing loss was too mild for hearing aids. He also found that many people had negative attitudes toward hearing aids; in fact, half the people with hearing loss chose not to try hearing aids due to stigma. A significant number of people also reported that cost was a barrier to hearing aid use.
The alternative for such patients could be a simple hearing amplifier, a device that can be used specifically in those situations when persons with hearing loss find it most difficult to hear. Since 2005, Comfort Audio has distributed the Comfort Duett, an amplifier for difficult hearing situations. People who are reluctant to use hearing aids as they think their hearing loss is too mild, or have a negative perception of hearing aids, are often willing to use the Comfort Duett. The investment for the patient is substantially less than hearing aids, and the design of Comfort Duett is similar to a sleek portable electronic device. Comfort Duett can be connected to the TV for a better sound experience for everyone in the room, and can be connected to a landline telephone, amplifying sound to the right level for users.
Comfort Duett has been recently re-designed, and is very easy to use. From the size, to the color, to the controls, Comfort Duett was designed for maximum ease of use and satisfaction. Operation is simple, featuring intuitive on/off and volume adjustment, as well as convenient and easy charging with light indication. The design and function has been tested and proven, including with people who have dexterity issues and visual impairment.
It is easy to demonstrate the immediate benefits of Comfort Duett in your office, to help even your most reluctant patients accept hearing assistance.
Chien, W. & Lin, F.R. (2012). Prevalence of hearing aid use among older adults in the United States. Archives of Internal Medicine, 172(3):292-293. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2011.1408
Kochkin, S. (2007). MarkeTrak VII: Obstacles to adult non-user adoption of hearing aids. The Hearing Journal,60(4), 27 – 43.
Kochkin, S. (2012, June). 20Q: Highlights from MarkeTrak. AudiologyOnline, Article #2439. Retrieved from www.audiologyonline.com