At times, it seems as if we prefer to mislead ourselves. Wikipedia has an entry titled “List of common misconceptions” that contains hundreds of widely-held but false beliefs. Yes, I know it’s Wikipedia, but take a look at the bottom of the web page and you’ll see around 385 credible sources cited.
For example, 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 correct, but from time to time, it’s a good idea to reexamine what we think we know.
For many of us, it’s time to reexamine what we think we know about hearing aids. The majority of myths and misconceptions about hearing aids are centered on the issues associated with the outdated analog hearing aid models. But considering the majority of 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 purchasing 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 effectiveness of three popular types 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.
Moreover, 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 in accordance to your preferences by a trained professional.
Bad experiences are likely the result of purchasing the wrong hearing aid, purchasing 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 unattractive.
Reality: This one is relatively easy to disprove. Simply do a quick Google image search for “attractive hearing aid designs” and you’ll see a variety of examples of stylish and colorful models from several producers.
Also, “completely-in-the-canal” (CIC) hearing aids are available that are nearly or completely unseen when worn. The newer, stylish designs, however, persuade some patients to choose the slightly bigger hearing aid models to display 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.”
As with television sets, hearing aids range in price dependent on functionality and features. While you may not want — or need — the top of the line hearing aids, you can without doubt find a pair that fits your needs, preferences, and finances. Also be mindful that, as is the case with all electronics, hearing aids are becoming more affordable each year, and that the value of healthier hearing and a better life is usually worthy of the expense.
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 very likely caused 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 ensure performance.
You wouldn’t dare buy a pair of prescription glasses on the internet without contacting your eye doctor because your glasses need to be custom-made 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 consider what you get for the price: you can be sure that you get the right hearing aid with the right fitting and settings, as well as follow-up care, adjustments, cleanings, instructions, repair services, and more. It’s worth it.
Myth # 5: Hearing aids are uncomfortable and confusing to operate.
Reality: If this pertains to analog hearing aids, then yes, it is generally true. The thing is, practically all hearing aids are now digital.
Digital hearing aids dynamically process sound with a compact computer chip so that you don’t have to worry about manual adjustments; additionally, some digital hearing aids can even be operated through your smart phone. The bottom line: digital hearing aids are being produced with optimum ease-of-use in mind.
Your hearing specialist can also produce a custom mold for your hearing aids, providing a comfortable and correct fit. While a one-size-fits all hearing aid will most likely be uncomfortable, a custom-fit hearing aid conforms to the shape of your ear.