At times, it seems as if we prefer to deceive ourselves. Wikipedia has an entry named “List of common misconceptions” that contains hundreds of universally-held but false beliefs. Yes, I understand it’s Wikipedia, but take a look at the bottom of the web page and you’ll see around 385 references to credible sources.
For instance, did you know that Thomas Edison didn’t invent the lightbulb? Or that sugar does not actually make kids hyperactive? There are a great number of examples of beliefs that we simply assume to be accurate, but on occasion, it’s a good idea to reexamine what we think we know.
For many of us, it’s time to reevaluate what we think we know about hearing aids. Most myths and misconceptions about hearing aids are centered on the problems associated with the antiquated analog hearing aid models. But considering most hearing aids are now digital, those problems 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 obtaining 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 of all, hearing aids have been demonstrated to be to be highly 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.
Additionally, since the publication of this investigation, hearing aid technology has continued to improve. So the question is not whether hearing aids perform well — the question is whether you have the right hearing aid for your hearing loss, professionally programmed based on to your preferences by a competent professional.
Bad experiences are probably the result of buying the wrong hearing aid, buying hearing aids online, contacting the wrong individual, or not having the hearing aids personalized and professionally programmed.
Myth # 2: Hearing aids are big, bulky, and unattractive.
Reality: This one is relatively easy to disprove. Just perform a quick Google image search for “attractive hearing aid designs” and you’ll see quite a few examples of stylish and colorful models from multiple producers.
Additionally, “completely-in-the-canal” (CIC) hearing aids are available that are virtually or completely hidden when worn. The newer, attractive designs, however, persuade some patients to go with the slightly larger hearing aid models to showcase the technology.
Myth # 3: Hearing aids are too expensive.
Reality: Today, some flat screen television sets 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 range in cost depending on functionality and features. While you may not want — or need — the top of the line hearing aids, you can likely find a pair that suits your needs, preferences, and budget. Also consider that, as is the case with all electronics, hearing aids are becoming more affordable each year, and that the value of better hearing and a better life is usually worthy of 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 most likely created by this myth. Like we stated before, hearing aids have been proven to be effective, but the one caveat to that statement 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 contacting 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.
Sure, visiting a hearing specialist is more costly, but look at what you receive for the price: you can be confident that you get the right hearing aid with the right fitting and settings, together with follow-up care, adjustments, cleanings, instructions, repair services, and more. It’s worth it.
Myth # 5: Hearing aids are uncomfortable and complicated to operate.
Reality: If this refers to analog hearing aids, then yes, it is generally true. The thing is, nearly all hearing aids are now digital.
Digital hearing aids dynamically process sound with a mini computer chip so that you don’t have to be concerned about manual adjustments; additionally, some digital hearing aids can even be operated through your mobile phone. The bottom line: digital hearing aids are being manufactured with maximum ease-of-use in mind.
Your hearing specialist can also produce a custom mold for your hearing aids, assuring a comfortable and proper fit. While a one-size-fits all hearing aid will most likely be uncomfortable, a custom-fit hearing aid conforms to the contours of your ear.