Sometimes, it seems like we love to deceive ourselves. Wikipedia has an page called “List of common misconceptions” that includes 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 notice around 385 credible sources cited.
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 a great number of examples of beliefs that we simply assume to be accurate, but now and then, it’s a good idea to reevaluate what we think we know.
For some 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 issues associated with the older analog hearing aid models. But considering 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? Keep reading to see if any of the top 5 myths are stopping 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: To begin with, hearing aids have been demonstrated to be to be effective. A study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association comparing the performance of three common 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.
On top of that, since the publication of this research, hearing aid technology has continued to get better. 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 qualified professional.
Bad experiences are probably the result of receiving 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, cumbersome, and unsightly.
Reality: This one is rather easy to disprove. Just 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 multiple producers.
Also, “completely-in-the-canal” (CIC) hearing aids are available that are nearly or entirely unseen when worn. The newer, attractive designs, however, compel some patients to go with the slightly bigger hearing aid models to show off the technology.
Myth # 3: Hearing aids are too expensive.
Reality: Presently, some flat screen televisions with ultra-high definition curved glass retail for $8,000 or more. But this doesn’t make us say that “all TVs are too expensive.”
As with television sets, hearing aids vary in cost depending on performance and features. While you may not want — or need — the top of the line hearing aids, you can likely find a pair that meets your needs, preferences, and budget. Also take into account that, as is the scenario with all consumer electronics, hearing aids are becoming more affordable every year, and that the value of better hearing and a better life is usually well worth the expense.
Myth # 4: You can save time and money buying hearing aids online.
Reality: Remember myth # 1 that asserted 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 assure performance.
You wouldn’t dare buy a pair of prescription glasses online without contacting your eye doctor because your glasses need to be customized according to the unique attributes of your vision loss. Buying hearing aids is exactly the same.
Sure, visiting a hearing specialist is more costly, but think of what you receive for the price: you can be sure that you get the right hearing aid with the right fitting and settings, in addition to follow-up care, adjustments, cleanings, instructions, repair services, and more. It’s worth it.
Myth # 5: Hearing aids are uncomfortable and difficult to operate.
Reality: If this pertains to analog hearing aids, then yes, it is largely true. The thing is, practically all hearing aids are now digital.
Digital hearing aids dynamically process sound with a tiny 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 smartphone. The bottom line: digital hearing aids are being designed with optimum ease-of-use in mind.
Your hearing specialist can also generate a custom mold for your hearing aids, providing a comfortable and appropriate fit. While a one-size-fits all hearing aid will very likely be uncomfortable, a custom-fit hearing aid conforms to the shape of your ear.