When you think about hearing aids, what is the first thing that pops into your head? Most people have some knowledge of hearing aids based what they’ve heard from friends or family members that have them. Opinions about hearing aids can also be made from television shows that mention hearing loss, public observation, or even the stigma the surrounds hearing aids. Unfortunately, not everything you’ve learned about hearing aids is true. Some common misconceptions and surprising facts about hearing aids are listed below.
Hearing aids can help treat tinnitus, or “ringing in the ears”
Most people report their tinnitus to be less bothersome with hearing aids. For individuals whose tinnitus is more persistent, hearing aids have tinnitus management technology that can be activated and fine-tuned by an audiologist.
Hearing aid technology is constantly improving
The hearing aids available today are not the same as devices that were worn ten or even five years ago. The companies that make the hearing aids are always making improvements to their devices based off of common complaints of individuals with hearing loss. As new hearing aid technology is introduced, overall sound quality, processing of speech in noise, battery life, and automatic capabilities are enhanced.
Hearing aids can be paired to smart phones to stream calls and music
As technology improves, patients can use their hearing aids more than one way. There are several companies that offer a direct connection to iPhones, which means phone calls and music can be streamed directly into the hearing aids. Apps are also available that allow hearing aid users to adjust the volume, change programs, and even choose the direction they want the hearing aids to focus on.
Two hearing aids work better than one alone
If an individual has hearing loss in both ears they will experience greater audibility, increased clarity and improved understanding of speech in background noise with two hearing devices VS one. Having two hearing aids will also help the listener perceive sound as more balanced.
Hearing aids can communicate with each other
Hearing aids are able to use what’s called “ear-to-ear” technology to communicate with each other. The hearing aids use this technology to better localize sound, improve clarity of speech, and reduce competing background noise.
Only “old people” wear hearing aids
People of all ages are affected by hearing loss and can be fit with some form of amplification.
All hearing aids are big and bulky
As hearing aids become more sophisticated, more technology can be fit into a smaller device. There are several styles of hearing aids that can fit a wide range of hearing loss and still be very discrete.
Hearing aids will make loud sounds too loud
Although hearing aids do amplify sound, uncomfortably loud sounds are compressed and amplified at a more comfortable volume.
People with mild hearing loss are not good candidates for hearing aids
Most people with mild hearing loss report that they can hear that something is being said, but the message is not always clear. They may also say that they can’t hear well in noisy situations, such as restaurants. Hearing aids can be beneficial for individuals with mild hearing loss by improving the clarity of speech and reducing background noise through noise suppression technology.
Everyone with hearing aids have the same experience
Each person’s experience with hearing aids is different depending on the type and severity of their hearing loss, their auditory processing skills, how often they wear their hearing aids, and the level of technology/ age of their devices.
There are no benefits to wearing hearing aids other than hearing better
When following a hearing treatment plan, hearing aids can:
- Help relieve tinnitus
- Train the auditory centers of the brain for improved processing of speech
- Improve an individual’s overall quality of life
- Help prevent cognitive decline
How to Learn More
The best way to learn about hearing devices is to schedule a hearing test and hearing aid evaluation with a doctor of audiology. At that appointment, the audiologist will discuss hearing aid styles, the different levels of technology, the importance of treating hearing loss, and the benefits you could expect from amplification. The audiologist will also review the results of the hearing test with you and make a professional recommendation for hearing devices with your hearing loss and listening lifestyle in mind.
The topic of hearing aids can be overwhelming and even intimidating. Michigan ENT and Allergy Specialists has four audiologists with extensive experience in fitting hearing aids, who would be happy to answer your questions. Don’t hesitate to call 616-994-2770 to schedule an appointment at one of our three locations.