Hearing aids are lighter, smaller and more effective than ever before, yet many people don't wear them because misconceptions have kept them from experiencing their benefits. Here are seven hearing aid misconceptions, along with the facts to dispute them.
Myth #1: I'd be the first to recognize my need for hearing aids.
Hearing loss usually occurs gradually - sometimes so gradually that your loved ones notice the problem before you do. Common indicators of hearing loss include difficulty hearing other people clearly, regularly asking people to repeat themselves, or listening to music or watching the TV with the volume higher than other people need. If you notice any of these signs, schedule a hearing evaluation with an audiologist. You may also wish to consider seeing an audiologist if you notice ringing, buzzing or whistling sounds in your ears. These are signs of tinnitus, which is often associated with hearing loss.
Myth #2: My hearing loss isn't bad enough for hearing aids.
You can benefit from hearing aids with any amount of hearing loss, no matter how minor. The longer you go without treatment, the more rehabilitation will be needed. The brain's auditory system requires stimulation and without that stimulation, your brain will stop recognizing sound. Fortunately, you can teach you brain to recognize sounds again by wearing hearing aids regularly. When you are first fitted with hearing aids, it will take time for you to adjust to the new sounds you hear.
Myth #3: Hearing aids won't cure the ringing in my ears.
Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, is a common problem, but it isn't a disease or illness in itself. It can be triggered by a variety of causes, and hearing loss may be an associated condition. If you have hearing loss, there is a good chance that hearing aids will relieve your tinnitus and simultaneously improve your hearing.
Myth #4: Hearing aids didn't work for my friend so they won't work for me.
Hearing aid success depends on having the right combination of technology and professional support. Perhaps your friend bought his/her hearing aids online or in a retail store that does not specialize in treating hearing problems. As a result the person was led to choose unsuitable hearing aids. Perhaps your friend didn't attend follow-up appointments with the audiologist and the hearing aids would work better with simple adjustments. Regardless of the reasons behind your friend's dissatisfaction, the first step in improving your hearing health is to explore your hearing aid options with the help of an audiologist.
Myth #5: Hearing aids will restore my normal hearing in the same way that corrective lenses can restore my normal vision.
Provided you don't have an eye disease that obscures your vision, corrective lenses can restore your vision almost as soon as you put them on. However, the same isn't true of hearing aids. Most people with hearing loss have sensorineural hearing loss, which results from damage to the hair cells in the inner ear. If you have sensorineural hearing loss, hearing aids won't restore your normal hearing, but they should help you to hear better.
Myth #6: Hearing aids are too expensive.
The cost range of hearing aids is as wide as the styles and sizes available, so you should be able to find devices that fit your budget. Despite its importance, purchase price should not be your only consideration in choosing hearing aids. Other factors, such as product quality and aftercare, should also influence your decision. Insurance might cover some of the cost of your hearing aids, but you should check this with your insurer. If you don't have insurance, or need help with costs that your insurer won't cover, financial assistance might be available. The Hearing Loss Association of America provides a list of programs that offer financial assistance.
Myth #7: It doesn't matter where I purchase my hearing aids.
Buying hearing aids online or by mail order may seem like a good way to save money. However, it may not afford you access to quality advice and aftercare. Purchasing hearing aids from a licensed audiologist means that you'll be dealing with someone who has the knowledge and skills to help you select hearing aids that are right for you. It also means that you'll get your hearing aids properly fitted and programmed to meet your hearing needs.