According to Healthy Hearing, 30 million people in the United States suffer from hearing loss, yet only about 15 percent of that group has ever worn a hearing aid. This is definitely true in Portland, Oregon. From my experience, about 1 in 10 patients who have treatable hearing loss delay treatment.
Most of the time it is not cost, it is because hearing aids have unfair misconceptions attached to them.
Below are the top hearing aid misconceptions that I see and the truth that breaks them.
- They are ugly – This is by far the biggest deterrent people have when considering hearing aids. Many people think that hearing aids are bulky, uncomfortable, and embarrassing. However, this is far from the truth. For several years now, hearing aid manufacturers have been able to create smaller, less visible amplification devices that sit comfortably within or on the ears. Although hearing aids have not become as trendy as glasses (yet!), they are also not ugly and most aren’t even noticeable! Most are less visible than the latest Bluetooth headsets.
- They are easily damaged – People don’t want to shell out thousands of dollars on devices that may or may not work and that might easily break. Our company ensures that your hearing aids are not only reliable and durable but also personalized to your hearing preferences. Most manufacturers will offer warranty for repair and sometimes loss & damage. The ones we work with offer 3 or 4 year warranty options. Beyond that we have a wellness program that will help you keep your devices up and running even beyond the original manufacturer warranties.
- They aren’t worth it – Some people worry that they won’t use their hearing aids or that wearing them won’t make a difference. Both ideas must be addressed separately. First, hearing aids are so worth it! They not only amplify sound for better hearing, but they also discourage brain atrophy. Hearing loss deprives the brain of certain stimuli, causing cognitive decline. According to a 2019 study, hearing loss is associated with a significant increase in the risk of dementia, especially in patients aged 45 to 64 years. Their findings suggest that implementing early hearing protection, screenings, and the daily use of hearing aids may help reduce this potential risk factor for dementia. Of course, hearing aids can be a benefit to you only if you wear them every day! By wearing them inconsistently, it is more difficult for your brain to readjust to normal hearing once you again use your aids.
- They make me look old – We already covered that hearing aids are smaller and less noticeable than they used to be, but we should also mention that they are also used by people of all ages. In fact, a WHO report from 2015 forecasted that 1.1 billion teens and young adults would injure their hearing permanently due to excessive use of headphones and louder and louder music festivals. Also, people with hearing loss who avoid amplification seem older because they are constantly asking others to repeat themselves or are struggling to keep up a steady conversation. I often ask my patients, what do you think makes you look older? Constantly asking others to repeat or wearing barely noticeable amplification that allows you to enjoy AND keep up with the conversation?
What is holding you back from hearing better? Contact us for more information and schedule your annual hearing check soon.
Uchida, Yasue, et al. “Age-related hearing loss and cognitive decline—The potential mechanisms linking the two.” Auris Nasus Larynx 46.1 (2019): 1-9.