Hearing Myths

Common Myths About Hearing Aids and Hearing Loss

Hearing aids are for old people

Fact:  2/3 of the estimated 46 million Americans with a treatable hearing loss are under the age of 60.

Hearing aids are too expensive

Fact:  Only if you get them where there is little or no follow-up service, rehabilitation, and support.  On the other hand,  providers that care about the quality of your life, health and long term satisfaction, make hearing aids one of the most affordable and difference making investments you can make in your life.  For as little as $1 a day, you can dramatically improve your relationships, brain health, experience of being connected to life, and work effectiveness.

Audiologists are better than Hearing Aid Specialists

Fact:  There’s no evidence to support this claim made by some audiologists.   Some audiologists may have more years of college education (although 90% of Hearing Instrument Specialists have a college degree), however most receive less training in school on the specific knowledge and skills of fitting hearing instruments.  Audiologists are the most qualified to work with children with hearing and speech difficulties.  But when it comes to adults, studies have shown* you actually have a greater chance of getting the best work from a Licensed Hearing Instrument Specialist.  Years in college has never been a reliable indicator of competence, care and compassion. *(www.betterhearing.org/)

Hearing aids will make me look old

Fact:  Not hearing what others hear will make you look far older.  Almost no one notices today’s nearly invisible hearing instruments.  Recent research has shown that even a mild hearing loss dramatically increases your risk of  Alzheimer’s disease .

I hear just fine

Fact:  Most people don’t realize they’ve got a hearing loss because you aren’t completely deaf.  You probably hear lots of sound, but there’s a world of sounds you no longer hear. It’s the sounds you don’t hear that diminish the quality of life in ways you’ve never noticed.  You’ve found ways to adapt and get by.  It may not seem that bad, but the consequences of doing nothing can be quite severe.  Medical science is telling us even a mild hearing loss increases a person’s odds of developing Alzheimer’s disease by 89%.  Furthermore, most people don’t realize that their hearing loss is often painful for loved ones, and has a detrimental impact on their earning power at work.  Imagine your child or grandchild’s frustration and pain when you can’t hear what they’re saying, especially when they want to express their love to you.

Correcting hearing loss is a gift we give ourselves and the people we love, care about and work with.

All Hearing Aids Look the Same

Unless you’ve done your homework, and really know what you’re looking at, you have no idea how to tell a $29 hearing aid from a $3000 hearing aid. Even a trained professional cannot tell the difference until those aids are connected to their computer for programming. What they look like on the outside says nothing about what’s inside. And, it’s what’s inside that matters. The model name may be on the outside, but even that can be easily changed by swapping the casing of one aid for another.

Misleading Insurance Benefits

Many insurance, and supplemental insurance, companies now claim to provide coverage for hearing. Be very, very wary. Read the fine print carefully. Why?

1) Most hearing aid providers offer hearing evaluations for free.  Coverage for a hearing evaluation saves you nothing.

2) Many hearing aid providers offer the same price your insurance company calls “Discounted Pricing.”

3) What you hope to gain in a lower price comes at the cost of significantly shorter after-sale service, and lower quality hearing instruments.

My doctor will tell me if I have a hearing problem

Fact:  Only about 14% of all doctors will provide hearing screening and referral for hearing correction.  And, less than 5% of hearing loss cases are medically treatable.  Without special training, and an understanding of the nature of hearing loss, it may be difficult for your doctor to even realize that you have a hearing problem.

I’m OK because I have one good ear

Fact:  Nearly all patients who believe that they have one “good” ear actually have two “bad” ears. When one ear is slightly better than the other, we learn to favor that ear for the telephone, group conversations, and so forth. It can give the illusion that “the better ear” is normal when it isn’t. Most types of hearing loss affect both ears fairly equally, and about 90% of patients are in need of hearing aids for both ears.

Hearing loss is normal for my age

Fact:  Well-meaning doctors tell this to their patients every day?  It also happens to be “normal” for overweight people to have high blood pressure. That doesn’t mean they should not receive treatment for the problem.

There’s nothing that can be done about my hearing loss

Fact:  In the past, many people with hearing loss in one ear, or a high frequency hearing loss, or nerve damage have been told they cannot be helped, often by their family practice physician. This might have been true many years ago, but with modern advances in technology, nearly 95% of people with hearing loss can be helped with hearing instruments.

People will treat me different if I wear Hearing Aids

Fact:  Untreated hearing loss is far more noticeable to others than we realize. Despite what you may believe, people unconsciously interact differently with a hearing impaired person. If you miss a punch line to a joke, or respond inappropriately in conversation, people may have concerns about your mental acuity, your attention span or your ability to communicate effectively. The personal consequences of vanity can be life altering. At a simplistic level, untreated hearing loss means giving up some of the pleasant sounds you used to enjoy. At a deeper level, vanity could severely reduce the quality of your life.

Only people with serious hearing loss need hearing aids

Fact:  It used to be that a person’s need for hearing amplification was dependent on their lifestyle, their need for refined hearing, and the degree of hearing loss. If you are a lawyer, teacher or a group psychotherapist, where very refined hearing is necessary to discern the nuances of human communication, then even a mild hearing loss can have a dramatic effect on one’s ability to effectively interact with people. However, now that science has shown that even a mild hearing loss dramatically increases a person’s chances of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, it is critical to give the brain all the sounds it use to hear to keep it healthy, ensuring a the highest quality of life possible.

Hearing aids make everything too loud

Fact:  That was true ten years ago.  Today’s digital computerized hearing aids automatically adjust loud and soft sounds, background noise, music, and more so that you hear what you want to hear comfortably and clearly. In fact, many hearing aids today don’t have a volume control.

It’s true that it takes time to acclimate to hearing instruments.  Adding new and sometimes louder sounds into the brain is like moving to a different climate.  At first, it can be challenging and distracting, however most people fully adjust within a month or two of use. That’s why it’s critical to find a provider that includes an effective auditory rehab program as part of their service to you.