Many people are unsure about getting hearing aids because either they know very little about hearing aids or they've heard negative things about hearing aids from people around them. But most of these are misconceptions based on outdated hearing aid models or a misunderstanding of how hearing aids work. And hearing aids aren't as complicated as they may seem. If you have a question about hearing aids, please don't hesitate to reach out to us. We hope that we can help you better understand what to expect from hearing aids and how they might be able to make a difference in your life.
Click each myth to see a fact!
TRUTH: Hearing aids will make you'll realize just what you've been missing all along. Going without them means continuing to miss out; when you don't have them in, you realize you really do need them to hear everything you want to hear. It's not that you're dependent on them, it's that they're beneficial to you and you won't want to go without them if you don't have to.
TRUTH: There's no difference in the price regardless of size. It's all dependent on the level of technology. You can choose an extremely discreet, virtually invisible hearing aid and it'll cost you the same amount as if you were to get a much larger hearing aid—what matters is whether you want more advanced technology or if you have simpler needs.
TRUTH: Back in the day, hearing aids were simple amplifiers, meaning that all they did was turn up the volume on everything equally. However, modern hearing aids—even the less expensive models—have some degree of background noise cancelation. You can hear what a difference this makes when you try on a pair of demonstration hearing aids and experience how they work around people talking in our lobby.
TRUTH: It's important to have realistic expectations. Hearing aids aren't a cure for hearing loss; they're a method of treatment. Modern hearing aids can do an amazing job helping you hear again. Some hearing aids can deliver really natural-sounding audio, and more sophisticated hearing aid technology helps even more by emulating how your brain processes sound. You might be amazed at what hearing aids can do, but even the most advanced technology has limits.
TRUTH: Not all models of hearing aids need custom fitting. If you do choose a hearing aid style that requires a custom mold, it's important that the hearing aid fit properly to give you the best results (and prevent "squealing" that can happen with improper fitting). But custom hearing aids are neither more expensive nor inherently better than other hearing aids; they're simply another approach.
TRUTH: While you'll save money in the short run, you'll miss out on a lot in the long run. There are a number of advantages to being able to hear out of two ears, and if you have hearing loss in both ears, you really should consider treating both. Your brain depends on sound from both ears to be fully able to interpret what you hear. We call it the "3D effect" because being able to hear out of both ears lets you locate the direction and distance of the sounds you hear. You'll also better understand the words that you hear, and you'll be able to hear just as well at a lower volume with both ears as you would a higher volume with a single ear.
As with anything else, there's a learning curve to wearing hearing aids. You should try to plan for acclimation time as you adjust to the sounds you hear and get used to the physical sensation of wearing hearing aids. We recommend that you try to commit to wearing your hearing aids 4-6 hours a day. You may find it most comfortable to wear them around your house where you're surrounded by familiar sounds. You may also choose to jump in and get out there right away, without holding yourself back, and get involved in your regular activities. We find that people who dive right in tend to have the easiest time adjusting because they stick with their hearing aids and really give themselves time to adjust.
If you're trying to give your hearing aids a fair chance and they're still uncomfortable, whether because they don't feel right in your ear or something about the sound is bothering you, please bring them back to our office. We may be able to make adjustments that'll help you out.
Hearing loss doesn't just affect one person; it affects that person's whole family. If you want to support someone you love, we recommend that you be as patient as you can be. Some people need encouragement to go have their hearing tested. Don't nag them about it; just plant the seed from time to time. Remind them of people you know who enjoy their hearing aids. If you have friends or family members who have had a good experience with hearing aids, it might be helpful for your loved one to hear from those people. Another thing is to just suggest they come in for a consultation. We won't even push them to have a hearing test; we can just talk them through the process and what it would be like. Many times we find they relax once we've spoken to them and then they'll agree to a hearing test, and from there, they may consider hearing aids as a possible solution. But you have to be supportive first. If you press too hard, you might push them away and they'll get defensive.
Once your loved one has hearing aids, it's still important to be supportive. Remember that you should be able to speak at a normal volume now and still be heard, so try to keep your voice at a natural level even if you're in the habit of raising your voice. However, hearing aids aren't a perfect solution. Give your loved one the best chance possible of understanding what you say. Try to face them when you speak, and enunciate clearly. Over time, you'll both adjust to your new situation.
There are three main kinds of hearing loss: conductive hearing loss, sensorineural hearing loss, and a combination of the two. Conductive hearing loss means that something is blocking your ear, whether it's wax buildup or fluid from infection or allergy. In those cases, we'll refer you to a doctor for medical treatment. Sensorineural hearing loss refers to actual damage to your inner ear, which may be caused by exposure to loud noises or just a product of aging.
Hearing aids can help with sensorineural loss by magnifying sound vibrations so that the undamaged sensory cells in your inner ear are better able to send neural signals about the sound to your brain. More advanced technology does some of the processing of sound before it goes to your brain, which helps you understand what you hear. If you have a combination of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss, you'll need to begin with medical treatment for the conductive loss and then seek a solution for the sensorineural loss once your doctor clears you for hearing aids.