W.A. was initially seen in the Inverness office on the instance of his wife. She expressed sincere concerns for his safety, citing multiple occasions when he has not heard ambulance sirens while driving. She also expressed frustrations with needing to repeat herself multiple times. While his hearing evaluation revealed a severe hearing loss in the left ear with excellent word recognition score and a profound hearing loss with poor word recognition on the right. It seemed odd to me that WA did not feel he had any difficulties hearing at all.
To please his wife, he agreed to try binaural hearing aids. He was fit with Starkey Ignite 3O Receiver-in-the-canal (RIC) hearing aids. In the fitting suite, WA did not perceive any difference with or without the hearing aids. As he was leaving, we were able to demonstrate to him and his wife, in the lobby that he was in fact hearing better as he was able to answer questions with his back to us. When we took the hearing aids off of him, he did not react to the questions being asked of him. He seemed convinced.
Upon follow up the following week, it was agreed that due to the degree of hearing loss and poor speech understanding in the right, that he may notice more improvement with just the left hearing aid. The left hearing aid was adjusted to account for the change. It was noted that W.W.’s wife was ecstatic at how well her husband heard over the past week. A follow up appointment was scheduled for the following week.
WA came into his appointment with a positive attitude. His wife was also equally as happy. WA did say he would like the hearing aid toned down a little as some sounds were uncomfortable. Adjustments were made and W.W. agreed to return in one week.
W.W. and his wife once again came to the follow up appointment together. She appeared upset and his demeanor was neutral. He did not have the hearing aid on his ear. He stated that he decided that “he did not have a hearing problem and would not be getting the hearing aid”. WA’s wife was distraught and pleaded with her husband to keep the hearing aid. She was noticing such an improvement when he wore it. WA disagreed and left that day without the hearing aid. He thanked me for my patience and willingness to work with him and felt that our office was very friendly; however “he did not need a hearing aid”.
At the end of the day, it comes down to patient motivation. If the patient does not have an internal motivation to want to hear better, you will have an uphill battle trying to convince them otherwise.