Serving Patients in Oregon and Washington
The Top 10 Most Common Myths About Hearing Aids
1. My hearing loss cannot be helped.
In the past, people were often told by their primary care physician that “nerve” loss cannot be treated with hearing aids. With advanced digital technology, the majority of patients with sensori-neural hearing loss (SNHL) can be helped. Wearers can now expect improved communication with hearing aids as a rule, not the exception.
2. Hearing aids will make me look “old” and “handicapped.”
Cosmetics need not be a barrier to obtaining amplification. There are now “invisible” solutions like completely-in-the canal (CIC), invisible-in-the –canal (iic) and mini behind –the-ear (BTE) that are totally or nearly invisible. Also, it’s not the hearing aids themselves that make you appear old, it’s what you believe they imply. It has often been said that “a hearing loss is more obvious than a hearing aid.” That might be what is making you feel old or handicapped.
3. Hearing aids will make everything too loud.
With analog hearing aids, it was often true that both low and high frequency and soft and loud sounds were amplified equally. When turning up the volume to hear soft sounds the result would be that conversational sounds would be too loud. With digital signal processing, hearing instruments can be tailored to meet you individual needs better than ever before. Multiple frequency bands/channels allow a more precise fitting to your audiogram.
4. My hearing loss is not bad enough for hearing aids.
Even mild hearing impairments can be handicapping. The need for amplification is dependent upon not only degree of hearing loss, but lifestyle. If you and your loved ones note that you are frequently saying “huh” and turning the volume of the TV too loud for others maybe it is time for help.
5. My hearing aids should ALWAYS allow me to hear better in background noise.
While it is true that many users complain about background noise, hearing aids can be effective in noise—up to a point. If others, including normal hearing people, are struggling in a high noise environment so will you. You will not hear better than a normal hearing person! Noise cancellation algorithms and adaptive directional microphones along with “stage management” strategies will enable you to maximize your aided hearing.
6. My hearing aids restore my hearing to normal.
While most hearing aid wearers report that hearing aids significantly improve their hearing and quality of life, hearing aids cannot make you “whole.” Not everyone benefits equally in all listening situations and not all technologies perform the same in difficult listening situations. With each level of technology, there are different features and options that will serve your unique hearing loss and listening needs and enable you to maximize your hearing in all environments.
7. Hearing aids are too expensive.
The cost of hearing aids is often cited as one of the primary reasons that hearing aids are not purchased. It is true that “premium” or “top of the line” hearing aid technology will require a “premium” price ($3000-3500 each). However, there is excellent technology at lower price points that incorporate many of the same features of the so-called “premium” level hearing aids. As with many consumer purchases, “price is an issue only in the absence of value.”
In addition, if you are truly indigent, there are programs that provide financial assistance on a limited basis.
8. I only need one hearing aid.
Being able to hear with both ears is just as important as being able to see with both eyes. The benefits of wearing two hearing aids include ability to localize sounds, ease and comfort in understanding speech in a noisy environment, and a fuller sound quality (integration in the brain with input from both ears).
If cost is a concern, it is always better to purchase two less expensive instruments than one “premium” or “advanced” device.
9. My hearing is normal for my age.
Hearing loss often increases with age (presbycusis). However, if you are frequently asking for repetitions, not responding appropriately when addressed, and missing out on conversations with family and friends, age should be of no concern. If your hearing loss, is affecting your quality of life, treatment should be sought regardless of age. Remember ‘it is not the years in your life, but the life in your years.”
10. I can put treatment off for another year or two. I’ve been living with it for this long.
There can be significant consequences for delaying treatment related to healthy brain function. Current research at the National Institute on Aging and Johns Hopkins University indicates older adults with hearing loss are more at risk for developing dementia and other cognitive issues than normal hearing older adults. The cognitive decline may be due to the strain of constant active listening which may mean less capacity for memory and thinking. In addition, it has long been reported that there is a link to hearing loss and social isolation and subsequent loneliness.