Lies About Hearing Loss and Hearing Aids

Lies About Hearing Loss and Hearing Aids

February 16, 2021

Myth: I should wait until my hearing is worse to get hearing aids.

Fact: The longer you wait the harder it is to treat hearing loss. We hear with our brain. If the auditory system in the brain starts to lose sound it begins to shut down and the neurons are no longer active. If we continue to stimulate the brain with hearing aids, the auditory system can continue to recognize sounds and the neurons stay active. If you don’t use it, you lose it!

Myth: My doctor will tell me if my hearing is bad.

Fact: Studies show only 17% to 30% of primary care physicians complete a hearing screening. Almost none do a full hearing test. It is a good idea to see an Audiologist for a hearing test. A baseline is always a good idea.

Myth: Hearing loss doesn’t affect my general health.

Fact: Untreated hearing loss increases the risk of experiencing cognitive decline, dementia, falls, social isolation, and depression. People with hearing loss exhaust other parts of the brain such as working memory just to hear. In addition, those with diabetes are twice as likely to have hearing loss and there is a significant association between high blood pressure and hearing loss.

Myth: Only old people have hearing loss.

Fact: Hearing loss is most noticeable and severe in those over 65 years of age, however, 65 percent of those with hearing loss are under the age of 65, and 60 percent are still in the workplace or school.

Myth: Hearing aids are like glasses.

Fact: Hearing aids, unlike glasses, take time to adjust to. The average person waits 7 years from the time they suspect they have hearing loss until they do something about it. This means 7 years with the brain experiencing a decrease in sound signals. Hearing aids will be programmed to an initial setting and then gradually continue to be adjusted once the brain has had practice listening through the hearing aids. One should wear the hearing aids all day long and expect a few trips back to the audiologist when they are first fit with hearing aids.

Myth: Hearing aids are too expensive.

Fact: There is a wide range of prices when it comes to hearing aids. Size and power of device do not determine price. Some insurances provide a discount, pay for part of the hearing aid, or even all of the hearing aid. Other insurances do not provide any funding. If price is a concern please discuss this with your Audiologist. We would rather you find hearing aids in your budget than forego hearing aids completely.

Myth: Hearing aids will restore my hearing to normal.

Fact: Hearing aids will help you communicate better but they will not cure your hearing loss. We hear with our brain. When we use hearing aids we are retraining our brain to listen to sounds. We are relearning what sounds to tune out and what sounds to pay attention to. This task becomes harder and harder the longer we wait to get hearing aids.

Myth: I only have trouble hearing certain sounds, so I don’t need hearing aids.

Fact: This is true for most people with hearing loss. Our high pitches tend to go first. They carry a lot of the consonants of speech, which make up the meaning of most sounds. When the brain has to work harder to decode the meaning of sounds, it takes up space that could otherwise be used for important tasks such as short-term memory. Hearing aids will be programmed to increase the sounds you cannot hear and leave alone the sounds you can.

Myth: Only one ear is bad so I’m okay.

Fact: We use both ears to filter out sounds and to determine where sounds are coming from. The brain depends on both ears to help us communicate. There is treatment for unilateral (one-sided) hearing loss. Most importantly, hearing loss in only one ear may be a medical concern. It is best to get a thorough medical evaluation and hearing test to determine your hearing health if you have hearing loss in just one ear.