At times, it seems as if we love to mislead ourselves. Wikipedia has an entry named “List of common misconceptions” that includes hundreds of widely-held but false beliefs. Yes, I know it’s Wikipedia, but take a look at the bottom of the page and you’ll notice around 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 fact make kids hyperactive? There are countless examples of beliefs that we simply assume to be true, but once in a while, it’s a good idea to reexamine what we think we know.
For a number of of us, it’s time to reexamine what we think we know about hearing aids. Most myths and misconceptions about hearing aids are centered on the issues linked with the antiquated analog hearing aid models. But since 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 stopping 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: To start with, hearing aids have been demonstrated to be to be highly effective. A study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association comparing the performance of three common types of hearing aids concluded 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 release 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 skilled professional.
Bad experiences are probably the result of acquiring the wrong hearing aid, purchasing hearing aids online, consulting 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 particularly easy to disprove. Simply do a quick Google image search for “attractive hearing aid designs” and you’ll see a variety of examples of sleek and colorful models from several producers.
Additionally, “completely-in-the-canal” (CIC) hearing aids are available that are virtually or fully unseen when worn. The newer, attractive designs, however, compel some clients to choose the slightly 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 range in cost dependent on performance and features. While you may not want — or need — the top of the line hearing aids, you can probably find a pair that meets your needs, preferences, and budget. Also remember 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 almost always worthy of the expense.
Myth # 4: You can save time and money buying hearing aids online.
Reality: Remember myth # 1 that alleged that hearing aids are not effective? Well, it was very likely caused 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 purchase a pair of prescription glasses online without consulting your eye doctor because your glasses need to be customized according to the unique characteristics of your vision loss. Buying hearing aids is exactly the same.
Yes, visiting a hearing instrument specialist is more costly, but consider what you get for the price: you can be sure that you get the right hearing aid with the right fitting and settings, combined 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 pertains to analog hearing aids, then yes, it is mostly true. The thing is, almost all hearing aids are now digital.
Digital hearing aids dynamically process sound with a miniature 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 smart phone. The bottom line: digital hearing aids are being manufactured with optimum ease-of-use in mind.
Your hearing instrument specialist can also create a custom mold for your hearing aids, assuring a comfortable and appropriate fit. While a one-size-fits all hearing aid will likely be uncomfortable, a custom-fit hearing aid conforms to the curves of your ear.