By Pauline Dinnauer
If nothing else, the past year-and-a-half has been a demonstration of the harm of misinformation. It can cause someone to make a choice they might otherwise reconsider. It can be the reason someone fails to seek treatment for a particular disorder or cause them to do so with unrealistic expectations.
In the context of hearing health, hearing aids remain one of the most frequent targets of myths and falsehoods — we’ll dispel some of the most common.
Hearing Aids Allow You To Hear Perfectly
The common assumption is that hearing aids work similarly to a pair of contact lenses or prescription glasses. Once you insert one, that’s it. Your hearing impairment is a thing of the past.
The reality is that hearing aids cannot “cure” deafness, nor are they capable of restoring 100% of hearing functionality. Moreover, because hearing impairment has so many unique manifestations and everyone’s ears are a little different, what works for one individual may not work for another. That isn’t to say that hearing aids are no good, of course.
In the vast majority of cases, a hearing assistance device can have a noticeable positive impact on your hearing. Hearing aid technology has also come remarkably far, especially in recent years. As such, even if they aren’t a miracle cure, they may still significantly improve your quality of life.
Hearing Aids Are Large, Uncomfortable, And/Or Unwieldy
This is one myth that has its roots in the truth. A few decades ago, hearing aid technology was unwieldy and uncomfortable. But consider that in the same timeframe, we went from room-sized computers to smartphones that can fit in our pockets.
The truth is that most modern hearing aids are discrete, sleek, and stylish. More importantly, they’re designed for comfort without sacrificing usability or efficiency. Believe it or not, the reason we’ve been able to make hearing aids as lightweight as they are is the exact same reason we were able to develop smartphones.
Miniaturization. In the past, we simply couldn’t make components at a small enough scale to fit in a hearing aid. With the capacity to manufacture smaller circuits and develop smaller machines, that’s no longer an issue.
You’ll Need A Hearing Aid When You’re Older
Age may be one of the most common causes of hearing loss, but that doesn’t mean hearing loss is inevitable as you age. Nor does it mean that you cannot suffer from hearing loss when you’re younger. Hearing loss can take many forms, and anyone, from the youngest infant to the oldest elder, can experience it.
Unfortunately, there still seems to be the general attitude that hearing impairment — and by association, hearing aid technology — is only for people who are “old.”
Just remember that congenital hearing loss exists. Noise-related hearing loss often impacts young adults. And hearing loss related to illness or disease exists completely independent of age.
Hearing loss is not something of which to be ashamed. Nor should you allow it to limit your quality of life. Regardless of whether or not you decide to get a hearing aid, know that hearing impairment doesn’t change a thing about who you are as a person.
You’re still every bit who you were before experiencing it.
About the Author
Pauline Dinnauer is the vice president of audiological care at Connect Hearing, which provides industry-leading hearing loss, hearing testing, and hearing aid consultation across the US.