Hearing loss is actually a common condition, and yet, it is so misunderstand. Read below to see our answers to some common inquiries.
Q. Why are hearing aids so expensive?
It's time to call out the elephant in the room. This is the question we hear most often from our patients. It may be difficult to think about spending a couple of thousand dollars on something so tiny. Just remember, hearing aids today are much different than what our grandparents used to wear. They include a lot of advanced technology and are so much more than an amplification device that sits on your ear.
There are also many steps that go into the process of making a hearing aid that has great sound quality. Designers, engineers, mechanics, researchers, audiologists and others contribute to the making of a hearing aid that is cosmetically appealing and provides the sound quality you need.
Regardless of your specific hearing loss, we understand that the way some people prefer sounds differs from others. It's the same reason we adjust the bass versus treble on the car stereo. Hearing aids are not one size fits all, and that's where each specialist comes in to make sure the patient is receiving the best device for them.
Q. Do I really need hearing aids?
If you have hearing loss, the answer is likely yes. Before explaining why, I want you to think of someone who has broken their leg. When the cast is set, the leg is in one position for several weeks, and the muscles are not being utilized. Once the cast is removed, you can see that the casted leg has lost muscle mass compared to the other.
It's like the saying goes, "use it or lose it." When you aren't stimulating the leg muscles by walking, running, sitting, or standing, the muscle weakens. Once the cast is removed and you start utilizing it again, you will see the muscle strength improve. This is similar to hearing loss. However, the difference is the type of hearing loss needing amplification. If you are experiencing a permanent loss, then we know that the hearing will not return. If we can catch a hearing loss prior to becoming severe or profound, the chances of success improve.
Q. Can I just get one hearing aid?
This can be answered similarly to the question above. In most cases, we don't recommend it. However, we understand there may be situations beyond your control and you may only be able to get one hearing aid for financial or medical reasons. These are individual situations that we will discuss to find the best outcome for you.
Perhaps you believe one of the following statements? Read on to learn the truths beyond these common misconceptions.
Myth: I have hearing loss, but I still hear everything.
Fact: Yes, but we live in a noisy world and if you have been without stimulation to certain sounds for a time period, then your ears are on high alert. Have you ever noticed that when you first walk into a bakery you can smell the sweet aromas of freshness baking? However, before too long, you just don't notice it as much.
Like anything else, your ears will adapt. As each new sound comes in, your brain tries to make out what it is. One day you might notice the hum of the refrigerator, or that you can hear your turning signal while you're driving. Hearing new sounds and adapting is a process. You don't just wake up one day and decide to run a marathon without the proper training. Essentially, we are retraining your brain to hear the sounds you've been missing for awhile and to learn which sounds are important, and which ones can be ignored.
Myth: Hearing aids are so big and bulky.
Fact: On the contrary, they are smaller than a postage stamp and can even be small enough to hide inside your ear canal. Today's hearing aids have advanced to become smaller and more discreet than ever before. The easiest way to understand this is to come in for a demonstration, so you can see for yourself. We'd be happy to welcome you into our office.
Myth: Only "old people" wear hearing aids
Fact: This is the most common myth about hearing aids. In this day and age, it's difficult to define "old," as some of the most adventurous people are the ones who have worked their entire lives and have set out on new ventures. I've worked with people of all ages with hearing loss, including my son who was diagnosed at 9 years of age.
Myth: Hearing aids will make a squealing noise
Fact: Although this can happen occasionally, it is becoming much less common due to the technology within the latest hearing aids. There is a lot of research and development that goes into making sure hearing aids have excellent sound quality, and one is aspect of this is preventing feedback.
Myth: Hearing aids aren't cool
Fact: This stigma surrounding hearing aids simply isn't true. All kinds of people wear hearing aids, and there is nothing to be ashamed of. Not to mention, today's hearing aids feature cutting-edge technology that will keep you ahead of the game. For example, did you know hearing aids have Bluetooth capabilities? That's right. They can even pair to your phone just like your car, portable speakers, and more. You can listen to music, podcasts, and movies through your hearing aids. Best of all, you can hear your phone conversation with both ears instead of one, making the conversation much easier to follow.
Myth: Hearing aid batteries don't last long.
Fact: Well this depends on what you consider to be long. You have to take into account how long you're using your devices during the day. If you don't want to worry about changing a battery every week, there are rechargeable hearing aids available. You just have to put them on a charger at night just like you do with your cell phone. You just set them in their recharging case at night, and put them on the next day with fully charged batteries.
Myth: I don't need hearing aids. The people around me just mumble.
Fact: This is a very common statement. Our ears are fine-tuned like keys on a piano. If a few are out of tune, the melody will not sound good. The same idea applies to speech sounds. You can hear people speaking because that part of you hearing is still preserved. However, the part of your hearing that is usually affected first is the part that gives you an understanding of what is being said.
"The biggest piece of advice I give to my patients when they first start wearing hearing aids is to be patient. There is a lot they are learning, from how to put the devices on, to how to change a battery, to knowing when to change a battery, to hearing new sounds again.
Our bodies are resilient and quick learners. The more time wearing the hearing aids, the quicker the adaptation process will be. The hardest thing for family members to understand once hearing aids are in the picture is that they no longer have to yell to communicate. Learning to talk in a normal tone will take time too. If hearing loss is suspected, even in everyday conversations, I try to encourage my patients to repeat a little bit of what they think they heard versus saying 'huh?' or ‘what?' It's easy to do and a bad habit. A conscious effort needs to be made to listen. If someone says, 'Let's go to the movies,' and all you hear is, 'movies,' then follow up with, 'Did you say something about a movie?' This will deflect a lot of arguments of not listening."
~ Dr. Gina Flores