When Fitting High-Tech Hearing Aids, Don’t Promise the Moon

Today’s advanced hearing aids offer lots of features that consumers may find pretty amazing. As a result, hearing care providers may be tempted to parade these high-tech wonders in front of their patients to get them excited about what they offer. In my opinion, this is a huge mistake!

If you promise too much, the patient will expect too much, and you will end up spending too much time and energy dealing with unhappy, disappointed patients.

The fact is, most people purchase hearing aids for simple, basic reasons: They have difficulty hearing their family; they want to hear better at religious services; they need to hear better at work.

If you put too much emphasis on things like “frequency transposition” and “automatic environmental adaption” and on trying to persuade patients that these state-of-the-art features make a pair of hearing aids worth $6000, you are setting yourself up for a fall.


Today’s hearing aids do have some remarkable capabilities. They enable you to hear on your cell phone using a Bluetooth connection. A hearing aid’s directional-microphone system tracks the location of sound, which allows you to converse with a person sitting behind you in the back seat of your car.

These features are wonderful, and some consumers go crazy over them. But to most patients who come into your office, they are the icing on the cake—not the cake.


I tell my hearing aid patients that the process we are going to follow is like scoring a run in baseball: We have to get to “first base” first, then to “second base” and “third.” We can’t expect to hit a home run on the first pitch.

I don’t want to overload and overwhelm the patient with a long list of “do thises and do thats.” My goal is to give them excellent hearing…slowly…emphasis on the word “slowly.” Solve the most basic problem the first week. Then, solve another problem, deal with a different situation, the second week.

Eventually you will implement all the features of the system and maximize its potential benefits. But, doing this takes time, patience, and a good deal of work. So, to reduce frustration to a minimum, limit the patient’s expectations to “do-able” levels.

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