Cindy Beyer, Au.D.  
West Palm Beach, FL

Specialties: Audiology

St. Petersburg, FL
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Hearing Aid Myths Debunked

Jan 11, 2012 - 0 comments



hearing aids


Hearing Loss

There are many misconceptions out there about hearing aids.  Find out the truth below.

I’ll just have minor surgery like my friend did, and my hearing will be okay.
Many people know someone whose hearing improved after medical or surgical treatment. It's true that some types of hearing loss can be successfully treated. With adults, unfortunately, this only applies to 5-10% of cases.

I've got one ear that's down a little, but the other one's okay.
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 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 affects only "old people" and is merely a sign of aging.
Only 35% of people with hearing loss are older than age 64. There are close to six million people in the U.S. between the ages of 18 and 44 with hearing loss, and more than one million are school age. Hearing loss affects all age groups.

If I had a hearing loss, my family doctor would have told me.
Not true! Only 14% of physicians routinely screen for hearing loss during a physical. Since most people with hearing impairments hear well in a quiet environment like a doctor's office, it can be virtually impossible for your physician to recognize the extent of your problem. 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.

My hearing loss is normal for my age.
Isn’t this a strange way to look at things? It is “normal” for overweight people to have high blood pressure. That doesn’t mean they should not receive treatment for the problem.

Hearing loss cannot be helped.
In the past, many people with hearing loss in one ear, with a high frequency hearing loss, or with nerve damage have all been told they cannot be helped. This might have been true many years ago, but with modern advances in technology, nearly 95% of people with a sensorineural hearing loss can be helped with hearing aids.

Hiding hearing loss is better than wearing hearing aids.
Untreated hearing loss is far more noticeable than hearing aids. 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.
The need for hearing amplification is dependent on your lifestyle, your need for better hearing, and the degree of your hearing loss. If you are a lawyer, teacher or a group psychotherapist, where very clear hearing is necessary to discern the nuances of human communication, then even a mild hearing loss can be intolerable. If you live in a rural area by yourself and seldom socialize, then perhaps you are someone who is tolerant of even moderate hearing losses. But if you want to avoid the negative consequences of hearing loss, such as anxiety, depression, loss of independence, and memory loss, hearing aids can help.

Hearing aids will make me look "older" and "handicapped".
Looking older is affected by many other factors besides hearing aids. Most of the time, it isn’t the hearing aids that make one look older, but what one believes they imply. If hearing aids help you function with optimal hearing, the stigma is removed. Hearing aid manufacturers are well aware that appearance is an issue to many people. That's why they developed hearing aids that fit completely in the ear canal. Newer slim tube hearing aids not only fit inconspicuously in the ear, they blend with hair color, making them discrete as well as highly effective. More importantly, an untreated hearing loss is more obvious than hearing aids. Smiling and nodding your head when you don't understand what's being said makes your condition more apparent than wearing even the largest hearing aids.

Hearing aids will make everything sound too loud.
Hearing aids are amplifiers. It is true that in the past turning up the power was needed in order to hear soft speech (or other soft sounds). Then, normal conversation and other sounds around you were indeed too loud. With today's hearing aids, however, better circuits often work automatically to improve hearing for soft sounds while making loud sounds much more comfortable. In fact, many hearing aids today don't have a volume control.

Be suspicious about the integrity of hearing health providers and the value of hearing aids.
Thousands of people were used in this study. It was discovered that hearing healthcare providers receive customer satisfaction ratings of 92%. And 9 out of 10 people indicate that the quality of their lives has improved with hearing aids. Choose your provider carefully - look for a certified and accredited provider that you can trust.

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