Would I use a hearing aid?

How much would a hearing aid help me?

I have read that many people who are provided with free hearing aids on the NHS* never actually use them. In fact this has been my experience too from talking to friends and relatives. I ask where their hearing aids are and there are all sorts of responses on why they don't wear them. The menus on hearing aids in the Coping menu address most of the reasons other than the all-too-common response of, "I don't even know where the hearing aids are now"!

So if you are considering getting a hearing aid, you should ask yourself whether you would actually use it. For mild hearing loss you may prefer to cope without one, and this website offers numerous coping strategies.

Time and money spent on a hearing aid is only well spent if you would use it.

Why don't people wear hearing aids if they need them?

I resisted wearing a hearing aid for a long time and I am sure that other people in similar positions do the same. There were two main reasons. One was that they didn't work properly - reasons which no longer exist with properly fitted digital hearing aids - see the pages in the top menu. Other reasons were embarrassment and vanity.

Would I look old and 'past it' if I wore a hearing aid?

I think that I was so embarrassed at wearing a hearing aid because it reminded me of an old lady in the 1950s. Her hearing aid was a large and ugly black box which either had to be carried round with her when she moved or placed on her lap or a table when she sat down. It had a twisted double cable attaching it to her earpiece. It made her look particularly stupid and it didn't work well because of its old technology. So she couldn't react or interact properly when people spoke to her. Sadly, people gave up and stopped talking to her. Her hearing aid certainly did make her seem 'past it', and even though hearing aids have come a long way since then, I was confident that the image of being 'past it' still remained in people's minds.

I was wrong. That image does not exist in the minds of people younger than me. I had expected the children in my wider family to snigger at my hearing aids - but they didn't. I took the aids out and explained what they did; and the children were interested for a few minutes. Then their attention wandered to other things. They just didn't see the hearing aids as a big deal, and because I was able to interact with them, they presumably didn't see me as 'past it'.

So it seems that, as far as the younger generation is concerned, seeing someone with hearing aids is as normal as seeing someone with glasses.

Would I look frumpy if I wore a hearing aid?

If you do have to wear hearing aids, the chances are that they can be invisible or nearly so. There are in-the-ear hearing aids that are tiny; there are hearing aids that are hidden in spectacle frames and hair can hide a lot. Even if, like me, you have to have a basic behind the ear type of hearing aid because of the amount of electronics that has to be packed into it, it need not show if you have hair, and this is true for men as well as women. [Photos coming]

Alternatively you can make a feature of your hearing aids. The internet shows that there are some very elegant and colourful ones available - not that I am suggesting that you buy from the internet. The attention of a qualified audiologist is essential.

Whatever you decide about having hearing aids, if they work properly and you wear them with confidence, no-one will think the worse of you, and you will be able to interact with them.

A way forward: a trial

If you are uncertain about whether or not to start wearing hearing aids, why not do a free trial. The page on try before you buy explains.


* The NHS is the UK's National Health Service which

Disclaimer: The information on this site is for a lay audience and I cannot be responsible for errors or omissions. The views, strategies, advice and suggestions etc are based on my personal experience and are not necessarily appropriate for anyone else. They should, hopefully, stimulate individuals to develop their own strategies.