In the United States, hearing loss is a major concern. Researchers have predicted that by 2025, more than 40 million people will be affected by some form of hearing impairment, according to their findings. By 2050, it is predicted that the number would have increased to as much as 53 million. As a result, it is projected that the need for hearing aids will increase.

With these sobering statistics in mind, many people question if hearing aids can be re-used. Many ear, nose and throat specialists (ENT), on the other hand, advise against this approach because of the potential risks and costs associated down the road with second-hand devices. Here, we look at why reusing hearing aids may not be a wise decision.

Technology is Outdated

Several complex technological components are used in the construction of many hearing aid devices nowadays. As the vast majority of people who have ever used a computer or a mobile phone can attest, technology becomes obsolete very quickly. A hearing aid that was called the best of the best five years ago, or even a couple of years ago, will, by today’s standards, lack the most cutting-edge technology available.

Devices Tailored to be Custom Fit

Many hearing aids are custom-made to fit the unique contours of a certain person’s ear canal. In such instances, it may be difficult, if not impossible, to put a previously used hearing aid in the ear of another person. Typically, recycled hearing aids must go through a time-consuming and very complex procedure called re-casing before they may be used again. Re-casing consists of multiple steps, one of which is remolding the device to conform to the shape of the new intended recipient’s ear canal.

The Importance of Reprogramming

It is also necessary to reprogram a previously used hearing device. They are not manufactured in a single model or in a single size that fits all. In many circumstances, specific hearing aids are created to satisfy the specific hearing requirements of the individual who was initially fitted with them. As a result, the new recipient would need to go through a reprogramming process that was tailored to their specific level of hearing loss. Reprogramming, like re-casing, can be a time-consuming procedure.

Considerations for Reused Hearing Aids

Many people often think getting new hearing aids will be a costly venture, but really, it’s an investment in your health and one you can afford to make with the help of a doctor. Because of these concerns, many people believe that buying a secondhand item or purchasing online from someone else will save them money. This isn’t even remotely true. Second-hand hearing aids or those bought online don’t allow for a tailor fit, meaning they will often be very uncomfortable to wear or they won’t even physically fit your ear anatomy. Additionally, your hearing aids will need to be programmed to your specific hearing loss needs. This isn’t always achieved – or even possible – when using a hand-me-down or online devices.

You Will Need Hearing Aid Support

Hearing aid users who are successful see their ENT on a frequent basis. When you first acquire a hearing aid, you are given a trial period to ensure that the hearing aids provided are comfortable and effective for your needs. Scheduling six-month follow-ups to track your progress and check the status of your hearing aids is a good idea because some parts of the device, such as the wax guard, the dome, or the receiver, may require replacement as a result of wax build-up or usage.

If your hearing changes as a result of your yearly hearing test, your ENT doctor may recommend that you have your hearing aids re-adjusted. A successful and happy experience with your hearing devices is dependent on you having your own hearing aids and working with a trusted ear, nose and throat specialist who can provide assistance and regular adjustments for you.

In the event that you are currently wearing hearing aids, ENTs recommend that you undergo a comprehensive annual hearing evaluation. The specialist will use the results of the evaluations to identify the current condition of your hearing loss, any changes from the previous year, and whether or not your present hearing aids will require adjustment.

Get the Hearing Aid Assistance You Need

If you are experiencing signs of hearing loss, or want to know more about the different types of hearing aids and why they should never be reused, get in touch with us today at Vero ENT Associates by calling (772) 408-9556.

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