shutterstock_1723848115_2jo0GfW..jpeg (shutterstock_1723848115.webp)Understanding how hearing aids work, the types of hearing aids that exist, and how exactly to attain one can be a daunting and seemingly complicated process. On its own, hearing loss is already a precarious situation. Adding in the task of finding sound amplifiers that work for you can make an already frustrating situation even more difficult. That's why, sometimes, people opt for not going through that process at all.

At Francis Audiology, we understand the frustration and confusion that this process can bring. But that's also why we're dedicated to streamlining this aspect of hearing care, and making it as accessible and comprehensive as possible for our patients.

In this article, we'll help you to understand why hearing aids are so revolutionary to those who have lost their hearing. Most hearing aids are far more simple to use, easy to hide, and beneficial to patients than they might initially think. If you want to know the truth behind some of the most common hearing aid myths, and learn a bit more about how to get one for yourself, this is for you.

Understanding Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is defined as a decrease in one's ability to perceive sounds. It can occur in varying degrees, from mild, moderate, severe, and profound.

  • Mild hearing loss is characterized by difficulty hearing soft sounds and understanding speech in noisy environments.
  • Moderate hearing loss involves trouble keeping up with conversations without a hearing aid.
  • Severe hearing loss means you may only hear some words or phrases without a hearing aid or when the speaker's voice is raised.
  • Profound hearing loss is characterized by the inability to hear most sounds, even with the use of hearing aids.

The impact of hearing loss extends far beyond simply turning up the volume. It affects not only the clarity of sounds but also our comprehension. A person with hearing loss may find it hard to distinguish certain frequencies, perceive directional sound, or understand complex auditory information, which can lead to difficulties in speech comprehension and social interaction.

There are several reasons why hearing loss can occur. It can be a natural result of aging, or it could be impacted by external factors like long-term exposure to loud sounds. In any case, the use of medical devices like hearing aids can make a world of difference for those who suffer from hearing loss of any degree.

Hearing Aid Myths and Misconceptions

Many who experience mild to moderate hearing loss are hesitant to take the leap and start using hearing aids. This is usually because they have dated or false ideas regarding how hearing aids work, and how they can help. Below is a list of three of the most common misconceptions regarding hearing aids, alongside some details explaining just how wrong they are!

Myth: Only Severe Hearing Loss Requires Hearing Aids

Many people believe that hearing aids are only for those with profound or severe hearing loss. They might think, 'I can still hear most things, so I don't need a hearing aid.' But hearing isn't just about loudness; it's also about clarity.

Even if you think you're 'getting by' with mild hearing loss, there are unseen ripple effects:

  • Social Withdrawal: People might start to avoid social situations out of fear they'll misunderstand something or be seen as 'not paying attention.'
  • Mental Fatigue: Straining to hear can be exhausting, leading to fatigue or headaches.
  • Missed Information: Not catching everything someone says or being able to hear conversations can lead to misunderstandings or missing out on important information.

Not to mention, early intervention is key to successful treatment. If you have trouble hearing, believing it to be mild, you might not even notice by the time this loss veers into moderate territory. Hearing loss is, unfortunately, an ailment that can get progressively worse with time. The sooner that you see an audiologist and get hearing test results, the sooner you can be on the path to improved hearing!

Myth: Hearing Aids Will Make You Look 'Old' or 'Weak'

It's understandable that the image that comes into your mind when thinking about hearing aids is outdated. For a very long time, prescription hearing aids were bulky and quite noticeable. This, of course, leads to the common misconception that they're exclusively for those with significant impairments. However, we live in a modern era! Over the decades, more and more new hearing aid options have emerged, and they haven't just advanced in style -- they've increased in functionality, too!

Here are some examples of more modern hearing aid styles:

  • Invisible-In-The-Canal (IIC): These are custom-made to fit entirely inside your ear canal, making them almost invisible.
  • Completely-In-The-Canal (CIC): Slightly larger than IIC but still discreet as they fit mostly within the ear canal.
  • Behind-The-Ear (BTE) with slim tubes: These are designed to be sleek and less noticeable, with clear or skin-toned tubes that blend in.

If looks aren't your qualm, but you're worried about the functionality of your hearing aid, check out some of the amazing perks that digital hearing aids can get you:

  • Connectivity: Modern hearing aid settings can connect directly to smartphones, TVs, and music players via Bluetooth.
  • Noise Filtering: Advanced algorithms help users hear voice sounds even in noisy environments.
  • Rechargeability: Forget about tiny batteries; some modern hearing aids are rechargeable.

Myth: You Can Get By With A Hearing Aid For Just One Ear

While the fact is that one hearing aid is better than none, the best thing to do for your hearing is to utilize two hearing aids. It's common for those who believe they have 'okay' hearing in one ear to try and cut corners by only purchasing and using a single hearing aid, but bilateral hearing is a very essential part of having full comprehension of the sounds around you. Hearing aids work best when they work together, and while there's no way to fully restore normal hearing, using hearing aids correctly is an effective way to prevent your hearing loss from getting dramatically worse.

Besides, using a single hearing aid can actually cause more harm than good. When you're making amplified sounds louder in just one of your ears, this imbalanced experience can actually worsen your ability to adapt to different listening environments. Not to mention, the auditory deprivation or lack of use of the unaided ear can cause its ability to hear to get even worse over time. So, generally speaking, if you're getting a hearing aid, you better make it double.

Benefits of Addressing Mild Hearing Loss Early On

It's important that, as soon as you begin to notice that you're experiencing hearing loss, you contact a hearing care professional immediately for testing. It could be standard hearing loss, but not getting it checked can run the risk of you having other communication disorders that you weren't even aware of.

Besides, hearing loss can be a safety issue, too. If you don't have a hearing aid to amplify sound, you can miss out on noises that have essential meaning. For instance, directional hearing is essential for avoiding accidents on the road, or identifying approaching vehicles and cyclists while you're walking. Hearing aid technology can potentially save your life, depending on the circumstance.

You might not think this initially, but amplified sound can be a key to fully enjoying and enriching your life. If you're watching a movie, you'll never miss the punchline. You'll be able to hear that beautiful end-note to your favorite song without turning the radio all the way up. And you'll be able to clearly communicate with your friends, family, and coworkers without worrying about whether or not you're able to understand one another. These kinds of experiences are key to an enjoyable life, and they can all be enhanced with the right hearing aid.

The Process of Getting a Hearing Aid

Once you've decided that you might need a hearing aid, your next concern might be the ease of attaining one. Here at Francis Audiology, we're happy to report that this process isn't difficult in the slightest.

The first step is to get your hearing tested by a professional through a series of tests. Then, you'll be walked through your hearing strengths and weaknesses, and your doctor will take their time in explaining the functions of the different types of hearing aids.

After a comprehensive evaluation to figure out what the right hearing aid is for your needs, we can begin to move onto the process of fitting you for a hearing aid. Getting used to having a hearing aid takes time, but once you get the hang of it, you'll be left wondering why you waited so long in the first place.

In an instance where you believe that buying a hearing aid is not financially viable, but you're interested in receiving one, don't be hesitant to talk to your doctor about potential financial assistance in the form of payment plans or help from your insurance.

Receive a Diagnostic Evaluation at Francis Audiology

At Francis Audiology, we understand that the emotional, mental, and physical journey that comes with hearing loss is not one that can be navigated alone. That's why our team of experienced staff has been working tirelessly for years to help our patients get back to doing the things they love most. If you have any questions regarding the acquisition of a hearing aid, or hearing aid technology in general, don't hesitate to contact us for a hassle-free consultation.

If you are interested in learning if hearing aids are right for you or are ready to upgrade your hearing device, contact our team of highly skilled audiologists at Francis Audiology or schedule an appointment directly online today!