Sometimes, it seems like we love to mislead ourselves. Wikipedia has an entry named “List of common misconceptions” that includes hundreds of universally-held but false beliefs. Yes, I understand it’s Wikipedia, but take a look at the bottom of the page and you’ll see approximately 385 references to credible sources.
For example, did you know that Thomas Edison didn’t invent the lightbulb? Or that sugar does not actually make kids hyperactive? There are plenty of examples of beliefs that we just assume to be true, but now and then, it’s a good idea to reevaluate what we think we know.
For some of us, it’s time to reassess what we think we know about hearing aids. Most myths and misconceptions about hearing aids are founded on the issues associated with the outdated analog hearing aid models. But since the majority of hearing aids are now digital, those issues are a thing of the past.
So how current is your hearing aid knowledge? Keep reading to see if any of the top 5 myths are keeping you or someone you know from buying 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 effective. A study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association comparing the performance of three popular 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.
On top of that, since the release 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 experienced professional.
Bad experiences are most likely the result of acquiring the wrong hearing aid, purchasing hearing aids online, consulting 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 particularly easy to disprove. Just perform a quick Google image search for “attractive hearing aid designs” and you’ll discover several examples of sleek and colorful models from multiple manufacturers.
Additionally, “completely-in-the-canal” (CIC) hearing aids are available that are virtually or completely unseen when worn. The newer, stylish designs, however, persuade some patients to choose the slightly bigger 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.”
As with television sets, hearing aids range in cost based on functionality and features. While you may not want — or need — the top of the line hearing aids, you can more than likely find a pair that fits your needs, preferences, and finances. Also bare in mind that, as is the scenario with all electronics, hearing aids are becoming more affordable every year, and that the value of healthier 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 claimed that hearing aids are not effective? Well, it was probably created by this myth. Like we said 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 assure performance.
You wouldn’t dare purchase a pair of prescription glasses online without contacting your eye doctor because your glasses need to be individualized according to the unique characteristics of your vision loss. Buying hearing aids is exactly the same.
Sure, visiting a hearing specialist is more expensive, but look at what you get for the price: you can be confident 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 well worth it.
Myth # 5: Hearing aids are uncomfortable and confusing to operate.
Reality: If this relates to analog hearing aids, then yes, it is mostly true. The thing is, nearly all hearing aids are now digital.
Digital hearing aids dynamically process sound with a small computer chip so that you don’t have to be concerned about manual adjustments; in addition, some digital hearing aids can even be operated through your cellphone. The bottom line: digital hearing aids are being designed with optimum ease-of-use in mind.
Your hearing specialist can also create a custom mold for your hearing aids, providing a comfortable and correct fit. While a one-size-fits all hearing aid will very likely be uncomfortable, a custom-fit hearing aid conforms to the contours of your ear.