Sometimes, it seems as if we love to mislead ourselves. Wikipedia has an page titled “List of common misconceptions” that contains hundreds of universally-held but false beliefs. Yes, I know it’s Wikipedia, but take a look at the bottom of the webpage and you’ll see approximately 385 references to credible sources.
As an example, did you know that Thomas Edison didn’t invent the lightbulb? Or that sugar does not in reality make kids hyperactive? There are countless examples of beliefs that we just assume to be true, but from time to time, it’s a good idea to reevaluate what we think we know.
For a number of of us, it’s time to reassess what we think we know about hearing aids. Many of the myths and misconceptions about hearing aids are founded on the issues associated with the older analog hearing aid models. But since the majority of hearing aids are now digital, those issues are a thing of the past.
So how up-to-date is your hearing aid knowledge? Read below to see if any of the top 5 myths are keeping you or someone you know from getting a hearing aid.
The Top 5 Myths About Hearing Aids
Myth # 1: Hearing aids are not effective because some people have had bad experiences.
Reality: First, hearing aids have been proven to be effective. A study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association comparing the effectiveness of three popular styles of hearing aids determined that:
Each [hearing aid] circuit markedly improved speech recognition, with greater improvement observed for soft and conversationally loud speech….All 3 circuits significantly reduced the frequency of problems encountered in verbal communication….Each circuit provided significant benefit in quiet and noisy listening situations.
Moreover, since the release of this research, hearing aid technology has continued to improve. So the question is not whether hearing aids work — the question is whether you have the right hearing aid for your hearing loss, professionally programmed in accordance to your preferences by a competent professional.
Negative experiences are likely the result of purchasing the wrong hearing aid, buying hearing aids online, contacting the wrong individual, or not having the hearing aids customized and professionally programmed.
Myth # 2: Hearing aids are big, bulky, and unsightly.
Reality: This one is relatively easy to disprove. Simply perform a quick Google image search for “attractive hearing aid designs” and you’ll discover a variety of examples of sleek and colorful models from numerous producers.
Also, “completely-in-the-canal” (CIC) hearing aids are available that are virtually or completely invisible when worn. The newer, stylish designs, however, compel some patients to go with the somewhat larger hearing aid models to flaunt the technology.
Myth # 3: Hearing aids are too expensive.
Reality: Today, some flat screen televisions with ultra-high definition curved glass sell for $8,000 or more. But this doesn’t make us say that “all TVs are too expensive.”
Just like television sets, hearing aids vary in price dependent on performance and features. While you may not want — or need — the top of the line hearing aids, you can almost certainly find a pair that fits your needs, preferences, and budget. Also keep in mind that, as is the situation with all electronics, hearing aids are becoming more affordable from year to year, and that the value of better hearing and a better life is almost always well worth the cost.
Myth # 4: You can save time and money buying hearing aids online.
Reality: Remember myth # 1 that maintained that hearing aids are not effective? Well, it was probably triggered by this myth. Like we said before, hearing aids have been proven to be effective, but the one caveat to that assertion has always been that hearing aids have to be programmed by a professional to ensure performance.
You wouldn’t dare buy a pair of prescription glasses online without consulting your eye doctor because your glasses need to be tailored according to the unique characteristics of your vision loss. Buying hearing aids is exactly the same.
Yes, visiting a hearing specialist is more costly, but consider what you get for the price: you can be confident that you get the right hearing aid with the right fitting and settings, along with follow-up care, adjustments, cleanings, instructions, repair services, and more. It’s well worth it.
Myth # 5: Hearing aids are uncomfortable and challenging to operate.
Reality: If this relates to analog hearing aids, then yes, it is generally true. The thing is, practically all hearing aids are now digital.
Digital hearing aids dynamically process sound with a compact computer chip so that you don’t have to worry about manual adjustments; in addition, some digital hearing aids can even be managed through your cellphone. The bottom line: digital hearing aids are being designed with optimum ease-of-use in mind.
Your hearing specialist can also produce a custom mold for your hearing aids, ensuring a comfortable and ideal fit. While a one-size-fits all hearing aid will probably be uncomfortable, a custom-fit hearing aid conforms to the contours of your ear.