At times, it seems as if we prefer to mislead ourselves. Wikipedia has an entry titled “List of common misconceptions” that consists of hundreds of widely-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.
For instance, did you know that Thomas Edison didn’t invent the lightbulb? Or that sugar does not in reality make kids hyperactive? There are a multitude of examples of beliefs that we just assume to be accurate, but once in a while, it’s a good idea to reassess what we think we know.
For some of us, it’s time to reevaluate what we think we know about hearing aids. Almost all myths and misconceptions about hearing aids are centered on the issues connected 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? Read below to see if any of the top 5 myths are preventing 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: First of all, hearing aids have been proven to be highly effective. A study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association comparing the performance of three popular styles 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 publishing 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 based on to your preferences by a trained professional.
Negative experiences are probably the result of acquiring 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 rather easy to disprove. Just do a quick Google image search for “attractive hearing aid designs” and you’ll see several examples of stylish 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 choose the somewhat larger hearing aid models to show off 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 vary in cost according to 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 case with all consumer electronics, hearing aids are becoming more affordable from year to year, and that the value of healthier hearing and a better life is usually well worth the cost.
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 most likely created by this myth. Like we stated before, hearing aids have been proven to be effective, but the one caution to that statement has always been that hearing aids have to be programmed by a professional to ensure performance.
You wouldn’t dare purchase a pair of prescription glasses online without consulting your eye doctor because your glasses need to be individualized according to the unique attributes of your vision loss. Buying hearing aids is no different.
Sure, visiting a hearing specialist is more costly, but think of 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 well worth it.
Myth # 5: Hearing aids are uncomfortable and difficult 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 tiny computer chip so that you don’t have to worry about manual adjustments; in addition, some digital hearing aids can even be controlled 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, ensuring a comfortable and ideal 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.