Other than telling parents their child has permanent hearing loss, the words “sorry, I can’t help you” are the words I least like to use in the practice of audiology. Sometimes the reason is clear at the first visit. The hearing evaluation is done and I find hearing ability that is too poor to benefit from hearing aids. This may result in a referral for a cochlear implant consult. This sort of finding is quite rare.
Another pretty rare case (just had my first one in years) is the person for whom we’ve demonstrated benefit, but who gets to the end of the trial period and walks into the office with the hearing aids in the bag. I’ve done all the due diligence I can do as an audiologist. I’ve worked to discover what the patient wants to achieve. I’ve done all sorts of testing, questioning, counseling, fitting, verification, and validation. I know I’ve helped him hear better, but there’s some motive or expectation I didn’t meet. In cases like this, when I’ve done all I can do, I have to tell the patient that he may be better off at a different practice. Perhaps another audiologist can find a way that I couldn’t. I hope so. In the meantime, I’ll try to help others who want to hear better.