Myths & misconceptions
Myth: My hearing loss is not bad enough for hearing aids.
FACT: Everyone's hearing loss and listening needs are different. Hearing loss often develops slowly and subtly. A good rule of thumb is that if other people around you are complaining you can't hear, you need to have your hearing tested. By working with an audiologist, you can determine how much a hearing aid will improve your hearing.
Myth: I have one ear that's down a little, but the other one's okay so I don't need any hearing aids at all.
FACT: Everything is relative. Nearly all patients who believe that they have one "good" ear actually have two "bad" ears. When one ear is slightly better than the other, we learn to favor that ear for the telephone, group conversations, and so forth. It can give the illusion that "the better ear" is normal when it isn't. Most types of hearing loss affect both ears fairly equally, and about 90% of patients are in need of hearing aids for both ears.
Myth: My friend has two hearing aids and hates them and said I should never even try them.
FACT: There are many factors that come into play when fitting hearing aids and therefore everyone's experience is different. Every person has a different hearing loss, different size ear canals, different hearing aid technology, etc. Hearing aid success depends quite a bit on the hearing aid itself. Perhaps your friend chose a basic hearing aid that is not technologically advanced enough to suit their needs. Perhaps they have not followed up with their dispenser since the fitting and the hearing aids simply need adjustments. Please do not let another's experience affect your actions regarding your hearing health.
Myth: I've heard it doesn't matter where hearing aids are purchased as long as they're cheap.
FACT: While buying hearing aids through mail order or off the internet may be less expensive, it is not necessarily advisable. By purchasing through these venues, you might be giving up the quality of care you will get by working with an audiologist. This includes things such as a qualified hearing evaluation, professional recommendations as to the most appropriate type of hearing aid, expert instruction regarding proper hearing aid usage, follow up care, etc.
Myth: Hearing aids will restore my hearing to normal just as an eyeglass prescription can restore vision to 20/20.
FACT: Hearing aids do not restore hearing to "normal." Just as eyeglasses do not "cure" your vision problem, hearing aids do not "cure" your hearing loss. Like eyeglasses, hearing aids provide benefit and improvement. They can improve your hearing and listening abilities and they can substantially improve your quality of life. Hearing aids cannot restore hearing nor can they prevent the progression of hearing loss.
Myth: Only old people wear hearing aids.
FACT: More than half the people with reduced hearing are under the age of 65. More and more children are being identified with hearing loss thanks to the mandatory newborn hearing screening program. Teens and young adults who blare music in the cars could be causing irreversible hearing loss that could be helped with hearing aids. Baby boomers are hitting their prime and hearing loss is occurring sooner than in the past (could it be all that loud music?). Hearing aids are no longer a sign of old age. It can affect people of all ages.
Myth: I've tried hearing aids before and didn't like them, so that means I won't ever be able to use a hearing aid.
FACT: Hearing aid technology changes rapidly. Hearing aids that were state of the art just a few years ago are now antiquated and have replaced with newer, smaller, better technology. Advancements in digital hearing aids have allowed clearer speech, less bothersome background noise, and an overall more enjoyable and natural listening experience.
Myth: I only have trouble hearing certain sounds so I don't need hearing aids.
FACT: If you are missing certain sounds you have hearing loss and with today's digital hearing aids hearing care professionals are able to precisely program the hearing aids to only provide amplification at the pitches you need allowing you to use the hearing you have left but get a boost where you need it the most. Inability to hear some sounds like the sounds sh, s, th, t, etc. significantly impact your understanding of the overall word causing the dreaded, "Huh?" "What?" and embarrassingly inappropriate responses to questions. "I only have trouble hearing women's and kid's voices." Hmm, that accounts for more than half the total population. So, you're saying you can't hear half of the people talking to you?
Myth: Hearing aids are big, clumsy and uncomfortable.
FACT: Actually it's quite the opposite. Today's hearing aids are stylish and discreet. In fact, many people are able to wear hearing aids that are hardly noticeable.