As audiologists with decades of experience, we have encountered many of the same concerns and misconceptions about hearing aids over the years. In some cases, patients have an outdated understanding of what hearing aids are like; in other cases, patients have been hearing incorrect information. We want to ensure that you are prepared with the facts about hearing aids and know what to expect from your hearing treatment so that you can make the best decision for you.
If you have some questions about hearing loss, you're not alone! Read below for answers to some of our most frequently asked questions.Q. Won't everyone notice my hearing aids, due to the bulky size?
A: These days, hearing aids are very discreet. We have found that often other people don't even notice when someone is wearing hearing aids, even if they're engaged in a close personal conversation. Most hearing aids on the market today are very small and fit inside or behind the ear, and they come in a variety of colors to match your skin or your hair. Some people prefer to make their hearing aids a fashion statement and choose bolder colors or patterns instead, but for most people, hearing aids can be easily camouflaged and will not draw attention to themselves.
A: People of all ages wear hearing aids, from small children to older adults. Hearing aids allow you to continue living an active lifestyle and remain engaged in what you've always loved to do, which will keep you youthful. You'll give more of an impression of being "old" if you're constantly having to ask people to repeat themselves and retreating from your favorite activities because it's harder to hear.
A: Hearing aids are much less expensive than many people think, especially if you come to a clinic staffed by audiologists, like ours. Because we can bill the cost of testing to insurance, we are able to offer our hearing aids at a lower price than many hearing instrument specialists. Additionally, because hearing aids can last five to seven years or more if properly cared for, their overall cost per year is more equivalent to eyeglasses, which have to be replaced annually.
A: Many people think that wearing just one hearing aid will save them money, without affecting the quality of my hearing. The truth is, if you have hearing loss in both ears, it's in your best interest to wear two hearing aids. Not only will this help you locate where sounds are coming from, it will also allow you to set your hearing aids at a lower volume and still hear just as clearly. Wearing just one hearing aid also puts you at risk for training your body to favor one ear, since your brain may devote its resources to the ear that hears better and put less effort into the ear that does not.
Sometimes, just answering a few questions yourself can help get the wheels turning, and highlight a few areas that might point to hearing loss.
1. Do you have difficulty understanding the other person on the telephone?
2. Does it seem like most people around you are mumbling?
3. Is it difficult to understand one person's speech while there is background noise?
4. Do you find it difficult to understand the dialogue on TV unless you turn the volume up high?
5. Do you often need to ask others to repeat themselves?YES NO
It can be hard to tell the difference between myths and truths about hearing loss and hearing aids. Read more below to find out the truth!
MYTH: If I wear hearing aids, I'll become reliant on them.
TRUTH: Hearing aids do not cause an addiction or reliance, nor do they make your hearing worse. What really happens is that wearing hearing aids can make such a difference that you don't want to be without them.
MYTH: Hearing aids are uncomfortable and don't actually help.
TRUTH: If your hearing aids aren't working, that means something is not right about them and you should bring them in to be adjusted. Hearing aids are for your benefit, and they should be an effective addition to your life. It can take some time for you to get used to wearing hearing aids, so they may not be comfortable right away, but if you persevere, usually you'll adapt within a few days or a couple of weeks. Give it time, and be sure to speak with the audiologists who prescribed your hearing aids if something seems wrong. We'll do everything we can to make your hearing aids work for you.
MYTH: Hearing aids just turn the volume up and don't actually make it easier to hold conversations.
TRUTH: Older hearing aid models may have been simple amplification devices, but today's hearing aids have much more sophisticated technology that can tune out background noise, focus on whom you're speaking to, and even minimize the sound of your own voice. You may even be able to use a wireless microphone device that the other person can wear so that you can more clearly hear them, which is perfect for classroom settings or work presentations.
MYTH: If my hearing loss isn't very bad, I should wait until it's worse before I get hearing aids.
TRUTH: Hearing aid technology can help people with hearing loss that ranges from mild to severe, and often the milder hearing loss requires less expensive technology. One thing that's important to understand is that what your ears hear is only one part of the picture. Your brain must also interpret what you hear. If you go too long without being able to hear certain sounds, you may lose some of your ability to understand those sounds as well, even if a hearing aid eventually lets you hear again. Therefore, it's in your best interest to get hearing aids sooner rather than later to ensure that your brain is still able to make the most of what you hear.