The Top 5 Hearing Aid Myths Exposed

At times, it seems as if we enjoy to mislead ourselves. Wikipedia has an article named “List of common misconceptions” that contains hundreds of widely-held but false beliefs. Yes, I know it’s Wikipedia, but take a look at the bottom of the page and you’ll see approximately 385 references to credible sources.

For example, did you know that Thomas Edison didn’t invent the lightbulb? Or that sugar does not actually make kids hyperactive? There are myriad examples of beliefs that we just assume to be correct, but now and then, it’s a good idea to reexamine what we think we know.

For a number of of us, it’s time to reevaluate what we think we know about hearing aids. Most myths and misconceptions about hearing aids are founded on the issues linked with the older analog hearing aid models. But seeing as most hearing aids are now digital, those problems are a thing of the past.

So how up-to-date is your hearing aid knowledge? Keep reading to see if any of the top 5 myths are preventing you or someone you know from buying a hearing aid.

The Top 5 Myths About Hearing Aids

Myth # 1: Hearing aids are not effective because some people have had bad experiences.

Reality: To begin with, hearing aids have been demonstrated to be to be effective. A study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association comparing the effectiveness of three common styles of hearing aids determined that:

Each [hearing aid] circuit markedly improved speech recognition, with greater improvement observed for soft and conversationally loud speech….All 3 circuits significantly reduced the frequency of problems encountered in verbal communication….Each circuit provided significant benefit in quiet and noisy listening situations.

Moreover, since the publishing of this research, hearing aid technology has continued to improve. So the question is not whether hearing aids work — the question is whether you have the right hearing aid for your hearing loss, professionally programmed based on to your preferences by a trained professional.

Bad experiences are likely the result of purchasing the wrong hearing aid, buying hearing aids online, consulting the wrong individual, or not having the hearing aids personalized and professionally programmed.

Myth # 2: Hearing aids are big, cumbersome, and unattractive.

Reality: This one is rather easy to disprove. Just perform a quick Google image search for “attractive hearing aid designs” and you’ll see several examples of sleek and colorful models from numerous producers.

Also, “completely-in-the-canal” (CIC) hearing aids are available that are virtually or entirely invisible when worn. The newer, stylish designs, however, persuade some patients to choose the somewhat bigger hearing aid models to show off the technology.

Myth # 3: Hearing aids are too expensive.

Reality: Presently, some flat screen television sets with ultra-high definition curved glass sell for $8,000 or more. But this doesn’t make us say that “all TVs are too expensive.”

Just like television sets, hearing aids vary in price based on functionality and features. While you may not want — or need — the top of the line hearing aids, you can more than likely find a pair that meets your needs, preferences, and finances. Also take into account that, as is the situation with all electronics, hearing aids are becoming more affordable from year to year, and that the value of better hearing and a better life is usually well worth the cost.

Myth # 4: You can save time and money buying hearing aids online.

Reality: Remember myth # 1 that asserted that hearing aids are not effective? Well, it was most likely triggered by this myth. Like we said before, hearing aids have been proven to be effective, but the one caveat to that assertion has always been that hearing aids have to be programmed by a professional to assure performance.

You wouldn’t dare purchase a pair of prescription glasses on the internet without contacting your eye doctor because your glasses need to be custom-made according to the unique attributes of your vision loss. Buying hearing aids is no different.

Yes, visiting a hearing specialist is more expensive, but consider what you get for the price: you can be confident that you get the right hearing aid with the right fitting and settings, as well as follow-up care, adjustments, cleanings, instructions, repair services, and more. It’s well worth it.

Myth # 5: Hearing aids are uncomfortable and challenging to operate.

Reality: If this makes reference to analog hearing aids, then yes, it is largely true. The thing is, practically all hearing aids are now digital.

Digital hearing aids dynamically process sound with a small computer chip so that you don’t have to worry about manual adjustments; additionally, some digital hearing aids can even be operated through your mobile phone. The bottom line: digital hearing aids are being produced with maximum ease-of-use in mind.

Your hearing specialist can also create a custom mold for your hearing aids, ensuring a comfortable and suitable fit. While a one-size-fits all hearing aid will likely be uncomfortable, a custom-fit hearing aid conforms to the shape of your ear.

M. K. – Patient

I am a Kaiser member and have been for many years. When I became unable to hear very well I was sent to the “hearing” dept & that is where I met Bev……Was very satisfied & trusted her a lot. When she left Kaiser & opened her own business, I had to follow her….I have been her patient well over 17 years.

Bev helped me overcome my problems by introducing me to my first pair of hearing aids. Of course all tests were performed and then special fitting & visits that comforted me in learning how to become familiar with these new products.

When I need an appt. she will fit me in ASAP to assure I feel important & my needs are corrected. Bev, to this day, has always spoken with sincerity & warmth making it a pleasure being her patient.

My reasons for giving Bev/Sound Advice a glowing recommendation are simply that I trust her, feel comfortable with her and believe she is giving me all her best advice & service in her field.

D. M. – Patient

The first thing I need to tell you is that I have known Beverly Lew for 8 years.

The second thing I need to tell you is that I am 88 years old.
When I was 16 I had a mastoidectomy-surgery on my inner right ear.

The surgeon told me that I would probably be deaf by the time I was 65. That was 72 years ago.

Beverly Lew has kept me hearing for all these years. Yes, I am on my third set of hearing aids, but I can HEAR. She knows what to do to keep my ears working. I can’t hear without hearing aids, that is true.

Beverly knows what will work. I am so grateful for her tender, knowledgeable care, that I am happy to tell you about this great lady and her prudent attention to my hearing that has kept me able to listen and understand for many years. I can hear voices. I can hear music. I can hear WHISPERS!

Thank you, Beverly Lew. You are always thoughtful and considerate. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate not only what you do but also how well you do it. Thank you a million times.

J.M. – Artist

I had a progressive hearing loss that escalated after I had radiation therapy. Soon, I was nodding and smiling a lot whenever people spoke to me, hoping that they did not know that I was unable to hear most of what they said. My patient husband understood, I could not hear, and it was often necessary for him to jump in, and become my ears. Finally, I made the second best decision of my life (husband being the first), and decided to try out Lyric hearing aids. I have never looked back. Beverly was the perfect partner for this adventure. She was kind, and understanding at every turn, and completely supportive as I went through the process of adjusting to the care and feeling of my new hearing aids. I think of her as a friend first, and my hearing professional second. If not for Beverly’s sweet, understanding and accommodating manner, and her willingness to resolve any and every problem I presented to her, I might not have the excellent hearing that I enjoy today. No question about it, Bev rocks!

K.G. – Attorney at Law

Recently I had a COMPLETE Audiology Exam by Dr. Lew. She gave me all the time I needed and accurately assessed my hearing loss and advised me on all my options to hear much better. FIVE STAR!

D.Y. – Caring Father

I took my son to see Beverly to check out his hearing. She is very patient and very good in working with him. I would recommend anyone (young or old) who has a possible hearing issue to see Beverly. She’s great!

G.T. – Young Professional

Beverly Lew is Amazing! I am a young professional with mild to moderate hearing loss. I finally decided it was time to look for an answer to my hearing issues. I went to see Beverly Lew at Sound Advice and it has changed my life. I am no longer struggling to hear others in meetings. I used to hate it when colleagues would whisper or talk softly to me because I would miss key information and details. I even found myself less confident because I wasn’t sure if I had missed something important. Beverly has changed all of that. She found the perfect aids for me. I consider myself to be techie and she fit me with the Resound Linx. They are very discreet and the sound is clear and crisp. I can even use my iPhone and iPad to adjust the volume, treble, bass etc.! She took a lot of care and time to make sure that I was fit with the correct device for my lifestyle. Just yesterday at my 3:30 appointment, she made adjustments to some of my settings and they are even better today. Let’s not forget about her Office Manager/ Assistant, Sue! Sue is terrific. She is always friendly, helpful, professional and just lovely to talk to! Beverly and Sue really care about their clients and I would highly recommend Sound Advice to anyone struggling with their hearing.

A Brief History of Hearing Aids

These days, countless people make use of hearing aids daily in order to hear better. This is nothing new, although the technology has certainly advanced significantly. Offered in numerous shapes, sizes, and even colors, the hearing aids of today weigh only a fraction of what they used to. They’re not only more convenient these days, but they provide the user many more advantages, such as the ability to connect to Bluetooth and even clean out background noise. Here we offer a concise history of hearing aids and how far they have come.

Original Innovations

Back in the 17th century, something referred to as the ear trumpet was created. These were most suitable to those who only had limited hearing impairments. They were bulky, awkward and only worked to amplify sound in the immediate environment. Envision an classic phonograph with the conical sphere and you’ll understand what they looked like. They were more common as the calendar spilled over to the 18th century, with numerous versions developed for the very wealthy, such as the Reynolds Trumpet custom made for the famous painter Joshua Reynolds. This horn-shaped instrument basically just funneled sound into the inner ear.

New Possibilities

The hearing instruments of the 17th and 18th centuries provided only very little amplification qualities. When the 19th century arrived, additional possibilities materialized with electrical technologies. In fact, it was the development of the telephone by Alexander Graham Bell in 1876 that brought on the advancement leading to electrical transmission of speech. Sparked by this invention, Thomas Edison invented the carbon transmitter for the telephone in 1878 which improved upon the basics of the telephone and actually boosted the electrical signal to augment hearing.

Vacuum Tubes

Next in line were vacuum tubes, released by Western Electric Co., in New York City in 1920. This company built upon the technology found in Lee De Forest’s discovery of the three-component tube just a few years earlier. These devices provided not only better amplification but also better frequency. The early models were quite large, but the size got pared down not many years later to the size of a compact box connected to a receiver. It was still quite inconvenient and didn’t offer the versatility and comfort of the hearing aids to come.

First Wearable Devices

The first devices that could actually be put on semi-comfortably were produced by a Chicago electronics manufacturer in the late 1930s. The hearing aids featured a thin wire linked to an earpiece and receiver, along with a battery pack which clipped to the user’s leg. More compact models were introduced during World War II which provided a more effective service to the user thanks to printed circuit boards.

Modern Models

Behind-the-ear models became available in 1964 by Zenith Radio; digital signal-processing chips, hybrid analog-digital models, and finally fully digital models entered the market in 1996. By the 21st century, programmable hearing aids were all the craze, allowing for extended versatility, customization and comfort. Today, 90 percent of all hearing aids are digital, and that number is only expected to grow. The question is, what will the future bring?

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Hearing Aids

Hearing aids have went through various iterations in their 200-plus year history. The technology that is implemented in hearing aids has historically been developed due to a dedicated scientist who is either impacted by hearing loss or has a friend or family member impacted by hearing loss. For instance, Alexander Graham Bell’s mother had significant hearing loss and his wife was deaf.
Here are 10 other little-known facts about hearing aids:
1. Through cutting-edge technology like Bluetooth, hearing aids can be synced wirelessly with MP3 players, TVs, smart-phones, and other electronics, allowing the user to enjoy direct signals from each of these devices.
2. Hearing aids are not one size fits all – in fact, they can and should be programmable. This means they give you the option to recall the most comfortable configurations for the user, often readjusting in real time to the immediate environment.
3. Digital hearing aids – a recent advance — have greatly lessened the prevalence of annoying feedback, echoes, and background noises. These were par for the course as part of older technologies, and they made paying attention much more challenging.
4. In conjunction with the amplification of sound, modern hearing aids can also enhance and clarify sound.
5. When used in conjunction with special induction or hearing loops, hearing aid users can more clearly hear notices in public places, meetings, airports, stadiums, and other crowded places. This technology enhances sounds and minimizes all the background noise.
6. It used to be that hearing aids were only manufactured in beige and similar colors to match people’s skin color, so that they were not easily identifiable. Today, users are welcoming their hearing aid technology, displaying an assortment of colors and patterns to showcase their devices and stick out in a crowd.
7. Likewise, hearing aids are smaller than ever before. They used to be massive, cumbersome contraptions that weighed several pounds and barely amplified sound. Today, they only weigh a few ounces and provide superior sound quality.
8. Today, you can buy water resistant and waterproof hearing aids to more readily fit in with your lifestyle. Water resistant hearing aids can withstand low levels of humidity and moisture, while waterproof hearing aids can tolerate higher levels of moisture during showering and even swimming.
9. Instead of having to frequently replace the batteries in hearing aids, many are now made with rechargeable technology to cut down on upkeep costs.
10. Hearing aids do much more than amplify sound – they can also contain special tinnitus therapy components that provide the user with relief when it comes to constant ringing in the ear.
Now that you are aware of some interesting facts about hearing aids and their accompanying technology, you can better understand what they have to offer the young and the old alike.

How Hearing Aids are Programmed

Any person that suffers from hearing loss may have considered buying a hearing aid from the shelf of a store and putting it in their ear to help their hearing loss. What many people do not consider beforehand is the fact that hearing aids require a great deal of customization in order to be worn successfully. Here we will look at the different ways that people who have hearing loss can benefit from getting their hearing aid programmed by a trained audiologist.

What Factors Can Be Adjusted?

When it comes to changing the abilities of a hearing aid device, you need to consult your hearing specialist. Not only will they have the ability to help you determine what the best method is for you to experiment to find your perfect hearing settings, but they can change them in increments to find the perfect levels. Some of the most famous forms of customizations that are used for hearing aids are volume level, frequency input, noise reduction, and the parameters which govern the microphone. By adjusting the types of sounds that are allowed into the hearing device, an individual can completely transform the way that they experience their hearing.

Processing Time

For people that have suffered from hearing loss for some time, they know the struggle that involves trying to adjust their hearing aid on their own with a little ingenuity and a tool kit. Rest assured that in the age of digital hearing aids you have the option to go to your audiologist and have them run a series of tests on you so that you can find out what the best option is for your hearing needs. This may take some time because they need to trouble shoot your hearing, but at the end of the day it will be worth putting in the time and effort to get better hearing outcomes. Be sure to note that some people still need to return to the doctor afterwards because of the way that their brain acclimates to the hearing changes. Eventually, you will find the golden area of hearing which allows you to have the best options available on your hearing aid device.

Programming Hearing Aids

Programming your hearing aid requires several specialized forms of equipment that can be plugged directly into the device to interface with it. Although you can buy all of these tools on your own, the fact of the matter is that most people do not have the required expertise to program a hearing aid so that it can reach the utmost levels of its potential. This requires you to go to a hearing specialist that can measure several different aspects of your hearing. For example, they need to measure how sound impacts your ear drum, and then specifically how speech is interpreted by your brain. There are tests and probes that are used to discern this information so that it can be recorded and used to improve your hearing device. After the measurements have been taken, the functioning hearing device is put through its paces by being subjected to surround sounds that simulate all manner of environments for the person to hear. Once they are satisfied that the device is versatile, then the individual has their own, customized hearing aid available for their needs.