Facts and myths about hearing aids
MYTH: My hearing loss is not bad enough for hearing aids.
FACT: Everyone’s hearing loss and listening needs are different. Hearing loss often develops slowly and subtly. A good rule is that if other people around you are complaining you can’t hear, you need to have your hearing tested. By working with an audiologist, you can determine how much hearing aids will improve your hearing.
MYTH: I have one ear that’s down a little, but the other one’s okay, so I don’t need any hearing aids at all.
FACT: Everything is relative. 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 favour that ear for the phone, group conversations and so forth. It can give the illusion that ‘the better ear’ is normal when it might not be. Most types of hearing loss affect both ears fairly equally and about 90% of patients are in need of hearing aids for both ears.
MYTH: My friend has two hearing aids and hates them and said I should never even try them.
FACT: There are many factors that come into play when fitting hearing aids and therefore everyone’s experience is different. Every person has a different hearing loss, different size ear canals and different hearing aid technology. Hearing aid success depends on the actual hearing aids. Perhaps your friend chose a basic hearing aid that is not technologically advanced enough to suit their needs. Perhaps they have not followed up with their audiologist since the fitting and the hearing aids simply need adjustments. Please do not let another’s experience affect your actions.
MYTH: I’ve heard it doesn’t matter where hearing aids are purchased as long as they’re cheap.
FACT: While buying hearing aids through mail order or off the internet may be less expensive, it is not advisable. By purchasing through these venues, you might be giving up the quality of care you will get by working with an audiologist. This includes things such as a qualified hearing evaluation, professional recommendations as to the most appropriate type of hearing aid, expert instruction regarding proper hearing aid usage, follow up care.
MYTH: I only have trouble hearing certain sounds, so I don’t need hearing aids.
FACT: If you are missing certain sounds you may have some hearing loss and with today’s digital hearing aids, audiologists are able to precisely programme the hearing aids to only provide amplification at the pitches you need allowing you to use the hearing you have remaining and boosting where you need it the most. Inability to hear some sounds - like the sounds sh, s, th and t - significantly impacts your understanding of the overall word causing the dreaded, ‘Huh?’ ‘What?’ and embarrassingly inappropriate responses to questions. ‘I only have trouble hearing women’s and children’s voices.’ That accounts for more than half the total population. So, you’re saying you can’t hear half of the people talking to you?
MYTH: Hearing aids are big, beige bananas and everyone will see I’m wearing them.
FACT: Hearing aid technology changes rapidly and 20 years ago hearing aids were big and more often than not beige. Today’s hearing aids are significantly smaller and discreet (some smaller than a 5p) and are crammed full of some incredible technology to allow the user to hear clearer speech, be less bothered by background noise and overall enjoy a natural listening experience. Hearing aids now come in an infinite number of colours to match hair and skin tones, and come in a variety of styles that can be worn inside or behind the ear. Karen Finch is the managing director and lead audiologist at The Hearing Care Centre. The multi-award winning, family-run company has 25 centres across Suffolk and Norfolk, with a new centre in Norwich opening in September. For more information please call 01473 230330 or visit www.hearingcarecentre.co.uk
audiologist and managing director of The Hearing Care Centre, discusses some of the myths and misconceptions surrounding wearing hearing aids. Karen Finch,