Hearing Aid Myths

Myth 1: Hearing aids restore hearing to 100%, just like glasses would give you 20/20 vision.

Hearing aids do not restore your hearing to normal, but they provide benefit and improvement in day-to-day communication situations. Many people are under the impression that if they have hearing aids, they will never struggle again to hear or that they will never have to say:”Pardon?” again, but we tend to forget that even people with so-called “normal” hearing also have to ask for repetition sometimes; they also can’t always here what is being said in noisy situations or sometimes even in small groups or one-to-one situations…

Hearing aids can improve your hearing and listening abilities, and they can substantially improve your quality of life, but no-one (not even someone with “normal” hearing), hears 100% all the time!

Myth 2: Hearing aids are big and ugly.

There is a vast range of hearing aids on the market and most hearing aids today are small, discrete and even modern-looking! Most people can be fitted with these smaller, modern hearing aids - Depending on the severity of your hearing-loss.

Myth 3: Only very hard-of-hearing or deaf people need to wear hearing aids.

Even if a person has a mild hearing loss, he might benefit from wearing hearing aids – discuss the options with your audiologist and if necessary first do a trial fitting so that you can make an informed decision. Research has shown that the sooner a hearing loss is fitted with hearing aids, the easier the adjustment to hearing aids is.

Myth 4: Only older people need hearing aids.

People of any age can present with a hearing loss, which might benefit from hearing aids. The “baby Boomers” and “Generation X’ers” are presenting with hearing loss already at a younger age than the previous generations. Some interesting statistics (American):

· 3 in 10 people over the age of 60 have a hearing loss.

· 1 in 6 “Baby Boomers” (age 41 – 59) have got a hearing loss.

· 1 in 14 “Generation X’ers” (age 29-40) already have got a hearing loss.

· An estimated 3 in 1000 newborns have severe to profound hearing loss.

· 2 out of 3 people with hearing loss are below retirement age!

· “Generation Y” is also at risk for earlier hearing loss, due to constant listening via i-pods, cell phones etc.

Myth 5: Two hearing aids are not necessary.

We don’t take glasses with just one lens – we have better depth perception with both eyes and in the same way we normally hear better with two ears. Binaural hearing (hearing with two ears) helps us localize sounds, assists us in noisy settings, and provides natural sound quality. Most people with hearing loss in both ears can understand better with two aids than with one

Myth 6: It is best to buy hearing aids over the internet.

No. By working with an audiologist, you are purchasing professional care and services to ensure that the correct hearing aids are selected and that proper programming of the hearing aid is completed – if not fitted correctly you might damage your hearing even further! Other professional care includes:

Hearing evaluation

Referral for medical treatment (if needed)

Hearing aid evaluation Verification of fit of hearing aid

Instruction in how to properly use and maintain the hearing aid

Follow-up care and support

Repair services

Rehabilitation services

Myth 7: A Hearing aid will damage my hearing.

If fitted properly a hearing aid will not damage your hearing.

Hearing aids helps to preserve good speech intelligibility and to keep on stimulating the auditory pathways and thus preventing atrophy which will result in worsening of speech clarity, which can affect the success of hearing aid fitting negatively. – So the idea of “use it or lose it” does apply to hearing! Hearing aids do not stop hearing loss. However, studies have shown that the sound provided by hearing aids allow auditory pathways in the brain to remain open and functional. These pathways are important for speech understanding, clarity in background noise, and separating what you want to hear from what you don’t. Untreated hearing loss causes these pathways to atrophy and actually to be taken over by other senses. A 2009 study showed that under-used hearing pathways are actually recruited by the tactile senses (touch). Another study in the 1990s showed that ears using hearing aids preserved better speech intelligibility than ears that had not benefited from hearing aid correction. The interesting factor was that they studied people who had hearing loss in two ears but used a hearing aid in only one ear. The ear using the aid preserved 10-20% better understanding than the ear with no hearing aid.

So… the longer you wait to have hearing aids fitted… the bigger the chances are for atrophy of the auditory nerve, which affects speech clarity negatively.