7 Common Myths About Hearing Aids
Over 48 million people in the U.S. have hearing loss. For many of them, the use of a hearing aid can provide exceptional help and support, giving them the ability to hear better. Yet, there’s often quite a bit of misconception about what hearing aids are, how they work, and who should use them. If you have any suspected hearing loss, reach out to an audiologist immediately. The sooner you do, the sooner things can get better.
Perhaps you are like the many other people who have more than a few misconceptions about hearing aids. Here’s what you need to know.
Myth #1: It’s Okay to Delay Treatment
The sooner you get treatment for hearing loss, the better. Delaying care could be the worst thing you do for your hearing as well as your mental health and cognitive function. In some situations, the drop in your ability to hear can cause irreversible hearing loss. If that occurs, hearing aids may not even be an effective or available option for you.
Instead, focus on improving your quality of life. If people have mentioned your lack of hearing or you’re noticing changes in your ability to hear well, even if they seem minor, get in to see a professional right away. Doing so could help to preserve your ability to hear.
Myth #2: 1 Hearing Aid Will Be Enough
Some people believe that all they have to do is purchase one hearing aid, and that will give them back enough ability to hear that they should be okay. That's not necessarily a good idea or even true. People use two ears to hear – it's the way your brain is wired. When hearing loss occurs, it's necessary to wear two hearing aids.
Wearing two hearing aids means that your brain can hear sounds from every direction again, which is important for special awareness and overall sound quality. It can be very important in situations where there is a lot of sound, such as in a restaurant full of people. If your hearing loss is present in both ears, and your audiologist recommends that you have two hearing aids, get them and use them both. You are not doing yourself any type of benefit by just using one hearing aid, and you could be doing harm to your hearing overall.
Myth #3: Hearing Aids Are Large and Bulky
Hearing aids used to be very large and easy to see. Without a doubt, this can be a worry for anyone. No one wants to have to contend with a large device that’s uncomfortable and obvious. The good news is today’s hearing aids are very small and oftentimes hard to see.
Hearing aid technology has improved significantly in the last few years. Manufacturers have developed technology that is very tiny, so small that they are virtually invisible when placed into the ear. These hearing aids are very effective at improving sound quality and giving you back the ability to hear well. Their position, often within the ear canal, makes them function well without being noticeable. On top of this, many manufacturers offer a variety of colors that allow them to blend in better with your skin tone, making them even harder to see. Most often, unless you tell someone they are there, they won’t know.
Keep in mind there are still some larger devices. Some people may need these. Yet, that doesn’t mean they are uncomfortable or hard to use. Check out the latest models before writing them off.
Myth #4: Hearing Aids Cost $8,000
The cost of hearing aids ranges widely based on the type that’s right for you. The type of technology, the brand, as well as things like the size and style can play a role in what you pay for a hearing aid. Most people think they cost far more than they do. Remember that technology has improved significantly in today’s hearing aids. As a result of that, they are more effective and less complex to build. That helps to keep costs down for you.
Most of the time, hearing aids cost between $1,500 and $3,000 each at an audiologist’s office. However, that fee typically includes the services from a Doctor of Audiology. That’s going to help improve the results you get. You will likely have a professional that has ample experience in fine tuning a solution that’s right for your needs.
Keep in mind there are lesser expensive styles of hearing aids available. However, quality matters. Inferior hearing aids may not improve your hearing enough or do enough to preserve it. Some are uncomfortable and hard to use. Quality products are not overly expensive, but they do improve the quality of the results you get substantially.
Myth #5: Hearing Aids Make ALL Sounds Louder
Hearing aids are not just an earbud that makes sounds louder. They are unique in the way they function. Some hearing aids are called analog hearing aids. These are designed to amplify sounds – and they will do so to all types of sound, including at various frequencies. This type of hearing aid is not ideal because it is hard to use and typically uncomfortable. Just turning up the sound on a TV, for example, doesn’t make it easier to hear for many people – it just makes it seem like the conversation is uncomfortable.
Today’s more modern hearing aids are a bit different. They work in a way to allow for the improvement of hearing quality, and they help to support the brain’s ability to understand sounds. They don’t just make things louder but help improve the overall sound quality you receive.
Myth #6: Hearing Aids “Cure” Hearing Loss
A hearing aid is not a cure. It does not fix the underlying problem that makes it hard for you to hear well. Most of the time, hearing aids cannot eliminate hearing loss. That means that while they greatly improve your hearing quality, they do not fully restore hearing. It is not likely that you will hear perfectly as you may have in the past.
Hearing aids are designed to work with your ear’s specific needs. The technology within them is capable of helping to improve your hearing, but they cannot cure the cause of your hearing loss. It's important to see hearing aids differently from what you may expect from wearing a pair of glasses which are often able to bring vision back to clarity. Hearing aids work with your ear structure and brain to improve your ability to hear and understand sounds, but you may not reach a level of having fully restored hearing. The sooner you get treatment, the better your chances are, in some cases, of seeing improvement.
At the same time, recognize the value that hearing aids offer to you. They don’t cure the underlying problem, but they may help to improve your ability to socialize, participate in activities you enjoy, and give you a way to interact with the world around you with confidence.
Myth #7: Only Old People Wear Hearing Aids
It's a common misconception that only old people need to use hearing aids. The reality is hearing loss can happen to people of any age. It's estimated that about half of the people who have some level of hearing loss are under the age of 65. There are many children that suffer from hearing loss as well. Most of these individuals can benefit from the use of hearing aids.
There are many reasons for early hearing loss. While it does occur more commonly in people who are older, it can happen to younger individuals for multiple reasons. For example, loud sounds, especially loud music or other sounds in a person's ear, such as through earbuds, can impact hearing quality and, over time, causes hearing loss. Many more children are developing hearing loss as a result of this. More so, the Baby Boomer generation is already seeing a significant amount of hearing loss at a younger age than generations before them. As a result, if you suspect you could have any hearing loss, you shouldn’t wait to get in to get treatment.
When to Get Help for Hearing – What Now?
Hidden in your ear where most people cannot see them, a hearing aid could help to restore your quality of life. They are more affordable and better functioning than most people realize, and what makes them even more effective for you is that they can be customized to fit the specific needs you have. The direct result of this is the ability for you to hear better and to engage in your life more fully.
The best way to find out how hearing aids can help you is to set up a consultation with our audiologist. Have a hearing test completed to learn more about what’s occurring and why. Then, work with the audiologist to find the best type of hearing aid for you, one that improves your hearing but also helps you to feel good about using the device and affording it.
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