If so many people with hearing loss don’t wear their hearing aids (in some cases because hearing aids don’t work very well), they can’t get any benefits from their preventing dementia, falls, depression, and other maladies. But there are a lot of reasons why many hearing aids don’t work well, and why people are uncomfortable even with “working” hearing aids.
One of the most frequent reasons that people put their hearing aids in a drawer and don’t wear them is that the hearing aid they purchased actually doesn’t work well FOR THEM. The process of having one’s hearing tested and a hearing aid purchased appears to suffer from a “one size fits all” syndrome. There seems to be such a a long and steep “learning curve” to the process of diagnosis, prescription, and training that many people run out of patience and simply give up. Apparently the high cost of hearing aids is not a sufficient motivation for buyers to “soldier on” to the point of discovering the benefits of the devices.
However, it is important to remember that the brain plays an important role in hearing. It is not the ear itself that needs to learn, but the brain has to learn to deal with a different set of inputs. And this cannot be done full-time, as we all have to continue all of the rest of our thinking and acting too.
The non-use of hearing aids has strongly piqued the curiosity of scientists, who have conducted numerous studies. Unfortunately these studies seem to have focused more on their methodology than on discovering the principal reasons for non-use of the hearing aids themselves.