Common Misconceptions about Hearing Aids

Hearing aids are all alike.

There are many different manufacturers and hundreds of different hearing aid models. Hearing instruments need to be carefully selected according to individual listening needs, style preferences, cost considerations and other individual needs. Then they need to be properly fitted and adjusted for physical comfort, loudness and sound quality for each individual wearer.

Smaller is better.

The smallest hearing aids may not be able to hold all of the circuits needed for a person’s listening needs, especially for persons with severe hearing difficulties. Tiny batteries used in the smallest hearing aids can be difficult to handle and do not last as long as larger batteries, so they need to be changed more often. Some types of hearing aids that fit over the ear are actually less visible than aids that fit in the ear canal!

The left aid & right aid are the same.

The shape of every ear is unique. The curves of the right ear are opposite from those of the left, so hearing aids are not interchangeable. The left and right ears may also have differences in hearing, and therefore require different settings.

They’re made out of plastic, so they’re washable & it’s no big deal to drop them.

The microchips and electronic circuits inside hearing instruments are made from expensive, sensitive, miniature metal components. These components can be broken easily if bumped or dropped on a hard surface. They can also be damaged by water and chemicals. Some hearing aids are more resistant to water damage than others. Let your audiologist know if you have any hobbies like fishing, boating or water aerobics, or if you plan to wear hearing aids while perspiring heavily, so we can select a moisture resistant hearing instrument.

They are just little plastic things, so they shouldn’t cost much.

Microchips and other circuits in hearing aids are made from gold, platinum, titanium and other expensive metals, and they are nano-coated with expensive chemical compounds to protect the electronic circuits. Electrical and acoustical engineers, psychoacoustics researchers and many other specialists devote years of research to inventing the mathematical algorithms, microchips and other electronic components required to make state of the art hearing instruments. It is not unusual for a hearing instrument manufacturer to spend tens of millions of dollars to invent a new circuit or microchip. So much of the cost of hearing aids has to do with their research and development to invent hearing instruments with better and better sound quality.

A hearing aid can make things sound normal, just like when I used to have normal hearing.

Most people who need hearing aids have hearing problems due to nerve damage. “Nerve damage” means that some of the nerve cells in the inner ear no longer work. Sometimes the nerve fibers can no longer carry information about sound to the brain. It’s like having a “blind spot” that doesn’t let sound come in. Hearing aids are an aid to help you hear better, but they do not completely compensate for missing nerves. Unfortunately, hearing aids cannot cure the damage that has happened inside your inner ear. So it’s important to use good listening strategies . Assistive listening devices can also provide additional help.

The hearing aid professional knows what’s best for me and can easily prescribe what’s best.

Your audiologist needs your help to select the hearing instruments that are best for you. The audiologist will ask about your special listening needs, style preferences, budget concerns any other needs you have. Your special circumstances and preferences will be considered when your audiologist selects a hearing instrument for you.