Addressing Common Misconceptions About Hearing Loss and Hearing Aids
When you think of hearing aids and those with hearing loss, you probably have some preconceived notions about each. Often the things we think about people with hearing loss and those that wear hearing aids are enormous misconceptions. As with many things, our ideas can be completely misguided when we don’t have first-hand knowledge about something.
Let’s look closer at some of the most common misconceptions about hearing loss and hearing aids to correct and bring light to what has changed over recent years about both. You may be surprised!
Below are common misconceptions about people with hearing loss or deafness:
1. Talking louder helps those with hearing loss understand what you’re saying.
While adding volume to your words helps, the clearness of the words that you’re speaking is another crucial part. If you think about it, the clarity is altered and distorted once you increase the sound too much.
2. Those with hearing loss know how to read lips.
Everyone is different. Some people are better at reading lips than others. Just because someone is hard of hearing doesn’t mean they’re suddenly good at it. For those that still possess some residual hearing, learning to lip read can really help in finding visual clues to what others are saying.
3. People with hearing loss are poor, unsuccessful, and often stupid or can’t speak.
This is absolutely not true! The thought that those with hearing loss are not smart often comes from their inability to answer questions appropriately simply because they didn’t hear the question clearly.
The ability of those with hearing loss to speak depends on many factors. Still, most hearing-impaired individuals can lead normal lives, and even be employed with hearing loss. They need a few accommodations to help them communicate efficiently. It is always best to ask if you are unsure what accommodations are needed.
It’s important to note that sometimes while using specific accommodations such as a relay service over the phone, delays while transcribing can happen. However, these delays should not be confused with the individual’s intelligence.
4. Those with hearing loss are older adults.
While many of us believe that hearing loss is only a condition experienced by the older population, many children and youth are at risk as well. According to the Journal in 2022, more than 1 billion people between the ages of 12-34 may be at risk for hearing loss. The primary reason is the use of personal listening devices at sound levels that are much too high for safe listening. It is believed that we will see a much younger generation suffering from hearing loss than ever before.
5. Deaf people can’t drive.
That is not true. Deaf people can certainly drive. They must be more attentive to their surroundings, but driving is not restricted to the hearing impaired.
Hearing aids come with their own misconceptions, including:
1. Hearing aids are large and clunky.
While this used to be the case, hearing aids are no longer the big beige hearing aids you remember your grandpa wearing. Hearing aids are sleek and come in all kinds of shapes, sizes, and colors. Technology has improved tremendously and because of these enhancements, hearing aids are remarkably small and even more effective than before. If the ugly hearing aids from the past are what’s keeping you or a loved one from trying them, worry no longer!
2. Hearing aids whistle and make embarrassing noises.
Older hearing aids struggle with loud whistling or high-pitched noises that are embarrassing for users. This feedback is now controlled with new technology that quashes such sounds.
3. Hearing aids can’t be used with a regular phone.
Many hearing aids can connect to phones with Bluetooth capabilities, making it even easier for users to hear people on the phone. Some people may experience feedback if they use a cordless phone, but wireless transmitters can also help with this kind of situation.
4. Hearing aids are too expensive for me to afford.
While it’s true that hearing aids can be pricey, there are different levels or categories of hearing aids and hearing aid costs. Even the most budget-friendly hearing aids perform amazingly and aid their users with the ability to hear things they wouldn’t otherwise be able to hear. Don’t forget, in most cases, there are financing options available as well. You simply cannot let yourself go without such a basic need because of cost. There are so many options available to you.
5. Once you get your hearing aids, you no longer need to see a hearing specialist.
For you to continue to receive the best results from your hearing aids, your hearing specialist must make regular adjustments. Our ears change and continue to grow. Because of this, adjustments need to be made for them to function correctly.
6. Once I get hearing aids, I can start hearing perfectly like I used to.
Don’t we wish this were the case? Even though our technology has come so far, a hearing aid is not (nor ever will be) able to process sounds exactly the way that our ears were made to. There is hope, though. Much of the sound you have lost can be regained with the use of hearing aids.
It takes time. The brain must go through a learning process to “relearn” sounds that are not currently recognized. Plan for a week or two to adjust to your new hearing aids and several visits to your hearing specialist for adjustments before you reach your hearing aids peak performance level.
Ready to Overcome Your Hearing Aid Misconceptions?
If you suffer from hearing loss and are no longer able to enjoy things that once brought you joy, it may be time to overcome some of the misconceptions you have carried about hearing aids. The team at Fairfax Hearing Center can take a debilitating hearing loss and help that individual flourish and thrive using hearing aids and other hearing devices. Contact our hearing specialist team today for an appointment.