Updated: Sep 24, 2020
Working in the hearing care industry for the past 30 years, we’ve heard a multitude of myths related to hearing aids and we always try to set them straight for our customers’ peace of mind. Below we’ve listed five of our most common myths we’ve debunked so far.
1. Hearing aids make everything louder
To start the list off, one myth we hear on a regular basis is that hearing aids make everything louder. To understand why this is simply not true, we need to understand the basics of what hearing loss is and how a modern digital hearing aid works.
When hearing loss develops, you tend to lose the ability to hear certain pitches and not the ability to completely hear all sounds. Therefore, turning up every single sound on a hearing aid would be pointless as you would only need to have the missing pitches amplified to benefit your specific hearing loss.
As an example, the most common reason for hearing loss is due to the aging process which leaves most people with loss in the high frequency range. This normally leads to a lack of clarity in hearing, making everything sound muffled, blurred and unclear. To combat this, the audiologist would programme the hearing aids to focus on amplifying sounds to their specific requirements.
The myth is likely to have lingered for a few decades, as if we were to look back at the hearing aids used more than 20 years ago, these were not digital and indeed had to amplify every single sound. However, due to modern technology now all hearing aids are digital and can be tailored for each individual’s hearing requirements, no matter how demanding these requirements may be.
2. Hearing aids are too big and bulky
With modern developments in technology and the introduction of microchips, most of the tech we use daily is getting much smaller. And this is certainly no exception when it comes to hearing aids. Rewind to a couple of decades ago, before hearing aids became digital and we would agree that what was available on the market was big and bulky. Now fast forward to modern age, where hearing aids are generally no bigger than about the size of a Brazil nut and come in a wide variety of specs to suit everyone’s preferences. It is now possible to have a digital hearing aid so small that it goes in the ear and is completely invisible.
Although most users opt for a behind the ear device, which is indeed very discreet and barely noticeable, that’s not to say that other types of smaller and more clever devices don’t exist. The behind the ear device is normally preferred due to the amount of tech it packs at a very affordable price, which is normally enough for the average user, but overall hearing aid options are now so varied that they can accommodate pretty much any requirement and add-ons.
As an example, some hearing aids even include compatibility with other external stylish devices such as ‘smart pens’ which will act as an external microphone connected straight to the hearing aid device to improve sound quality without impacting on the size of the hearing aid. As we said, your hearing aid device options are now pretty much limitless, just ask your audiologist if you’re interested in any specific capability.
3. Hearing aids are too expensive
This is one of the myths that are at least partly justified. We’ve all heard stories of someone who has purchased a hearing aid device that cost them a hefty amount. However, this doesn’t have to be the case for everyone. Just like any other type of spend, it all depends on personal preference and budget. There are devices suitable for your hearing needs available at every price point and it varies based on your design preference, technology capability and how compact you’d like the aid to be.
Looking at it in isolation, some hearing aids can be perceived as expensive, but when compared to other private medical interventions the cost is relative. When you consider you’re buying a device that is state-of-the-art technology that can benefit tinnitus, hearing loss and help prevent mental health issues, the price becomes justified.
4. Hearing aids allow people to hear perfectly again
We all wish this were more than a myth, however it remains untrue. The hearing aid technology available today is incredible and will help you gain great hearing benefit, but unfortunately it can’t beat mother nature. It is vital to remember that at the end of the day, a hearing aid is an aid and not a cure. This is why we ask all new digital hearing aid users to please be realistic – the aid won’t be able to fully restore your hearing back to your 18-year-old self, but it can help you tremendously to hear sounds that you’ve missed and help you find the quality of life you deserve.
5. Hearing loss is not a serious health concern
Hearing loss affects people in different ways. Some have an obvious struggle while others may struggle without any tell-tale signs. Studies suggest that, on average, most people leave hearing loss untreated for 7 and a half years and in that time it is possible to start either withdrawing from group situations or start feeling isolated when presented with group situations therefore reducing general happiness.
Mental health in general is a silent problem in people’s lives and hearing loss is no exception, unfortunately it can also lead to mental health problems as well as depression and social anxiety. Being social is a basic human need and without it there is a chance of an increase in suffering from depression.
In recent times there has been a lot of focus on how hearing loss can contribute to future development in dementia. The brain is a muscle that needs constant exercise and stimulation, and a drop in hearing equates to less stimulation, which in turn can equate to memory loss and fatigue. This is why hearing is very important, with studies suggesting that this lack of stimulus can increase the chances of dementia. A hearing aid can add that stimulus and we know that the longer hearing loss is left untreated, the harder it is for the brain to re-adjust to a new stimulus.