While MythBusters likely won’t be getting involved with this one, hearing health professionals are able to lay to rest some questions about myth vs. fact for their audience of people needing hearing aids
Myth: Hearing loss is something that happens to older people.
Fact: Approximately one out of every five people over the age of 12 living with hearing loss have a severe enough loss to make communication difficult. One out of every eight people in the U.S. over the age of 12 has hearing loss in both ears. About 65 percent of people with hearing loss are under the age of 65.
Myth: Everyone can see your hearing aid, it’s embarrassing.
Fact: With today’s technology surrounding in-the-ear devices such as earbuds and sound-amplifying devices, it’s quite common to look around and see you’re surrounded by others with some type of device in their ear.
Not only is it much more easily accepted to wear them, but many hearing aids are now so tiny they can fit inside the ear with very little notice. They are discreet and offer a better sound quality due to the fit within the ear. There are several different types to choose from as far as size, fit, style, purpose, and color.
Among them are Invisible in the Canal (IIC), and Completely in the Canal (CIC), as well as low profile devices that use a bit more of the lower ear. There is also the more commonly known Behind-the-Ear style or Receiver-in-the-Ear (RITE).
Myth: Hearing aids will make you hear normally.
Fact: While they can help you to hear and communicate with those around you, as well as increase your quality of life, they don’t actually “cure” hearing loss or return your hearing to its normal state.
Myth: They’re hard to get used to.
Fact: While everyone’s experience is different, there are some who will adapt to the devices more slowly and others who take to it like a duck to water. One thing that may cause a delay in getting used to a new device is actually the overwhelming sensation of all the sounds you can hear once you start using the devices. Many people tend to stop wearing them at this point because it just seems like too much.
Don’t give up at this point. The process is a gradual one for more than just the comfort and feel of a new device. The sensation of actually hearing will be unusual at first, especially if you’ve gone a long time with undiagnosed hearing loss. There will be a training period for your brain to get used to these new sounds. The brain will need to learn to process the multiple streams of stimuli it’s being fed, such as background noise from voices, the distance that the noise is coming from and even trying to figure out exactly what sounds its hearing. Remember to give yourself time to adjust and you’ll be surprised how seamless the process can be.
Myth: You won’t need a hearing aid for minor hearing loss.
Fact: Though there are some who adapt and do well with a minor hearing loss, others maintain that using a hearing aid makes a noticeable difference.
Myth: Smaller devices are the best options.
Fact: These are the best fit for some people, but not everyone is able to adjust to these tiny, in-the-ear devices. Often, older people or those with larger fingers have difficulty manipulating these tiny hearing aids to fit correctly. There are several options for high-quality hearing aids that are very technologically advanced on the market today to choose from.
Myth: By buying your hearing aids online, you can save money as well as time.
Fact: There are many varieties available online these days, but without an audiologist’s assistance, you might actually waste time and money. Armed with the results of testing performed by professionals, you can make an educated choice as to what devices work best for your type of hearing loss.
Myth: They are inconvenient.
Fact: Though they do require time for cleaning and insertion or removal, they actually are very beneficial. Much like a pair of contact lenses, they allow you many advantages. They open the doors to a lot of new experiences such as:
- Linking to hearing loops within theaters, comedy clubs, and event centers as well as airports, bus or train terminals, doctors’ offices, and courtrooms. They are also becoming more common in churches, schools, and can even be placed within the home in areas like living and dining rooms.
- Allowing you to utilize technology such as smartphone applications to adjust the volume.
- They can link to systems such as Bluetooth, FM systems, IR systems, and Wi-Fi.
Myth: I don’t have a hearing problem.
Fact: As shocking as it may be, many people aren’t even aware they have a hearing loss. For those who don’t have a sudden event that causes the loss, it can come on gradually, over many months or years. This type of change diminishes the hearing so slowly that the person is more apt to think others are mumbling, or even ignoring them because they can’t hear their responses. Often, it’s the people surrounding someone with hearing loss that point it out.
This type of undiagnosed hearing loss can contribute to many different issues such as:
- Marital or relationship problems
- Work-related problems such as the inability to hear during important meetings, conversations with coworkers or bosses, or even the ability to have a phone conversation
- Safety concerns such as emergencies due to weather or natural events, emergency vehicles they encounter while walking or driving, or being out alone in public and not able to hear someone coming up behind
- Over time it can lead to an increase in the likelihood of dementia, social isolation, anxiety, and depression
The facts are if you suspect you have diminished hearing, schedule an appointment with a hearing health professional today. They can open the door to a better quality of life if you just give them a chance.