Hearing Aid Myths – Part Two

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Happy New Year from all of us at Pro Hearing! If you have followed our articles, you might recall our November 2021 article on common myths surrounding hearing aids (Hearing Aid Myths – Part 1). We are kicking off 2022 with another round of debunking hearing aid myths! To reiterate, our goal in doing this is to break down stigmas and misinformation about hearing loss and hearing aids. We want patients to have accurate information before making informed decisions when it comes to hearing technology. Now let’s bust some myths!

Myth #6: You only need to wear one hearing aid.

Hearing aids, in most cases, need to be fit as a pair. However, there are exceptions to this rule! For example, when aidable hearing loss is present in one ear while the other ear has normal thresholds, two hearing aids are not necessary. When an ear is unaidable due to significant damage (physical or nerve), two hearing aids are not necessary. If one ear is utilizing a cochlear implant, obviously that ear would not be fit with an aid. These circumstances aside, in most cases, two hearing aids will be necessary. There are major advantages by aiding a binaural (two sided) hearing loss. For instance, sound location accuracy increases with two hearing aids because of the ability to receive and process sound from all directions. With only one ear aided, sound cannot be located as easily especially if there is loss present on the unaided side. Additionally, background noise can become increasingly overwhelming to one sided hearing aid wearers because the brain can’t receive and process sound the way it is made to.

Perhaps the most important reason for wearing two hearing aids is to exercise the brain. The brain is a mass information center that is constantly receiving, decoding, and interpreting sound stimuli. This is done through various auditory nerve pathways. When the brain stops becoming exercised by sound stimuli, over time, it is a detriment to the brain. Numerous studies have shown that untreated hearing loss is linked to a five-fold increased risk for Alzheimer’s and Dementia. In these studies, images of the brain show signs of atrophy as well as decreased brain matter. Therefore, wearing two hearing aids (when it is necessary to do so) will undoubtedly give the brain it’s best chance at thriving and preserving those important functions.

Myth #4: Hearing aids are too bulky and ugly

When it comes to technology, most people don’t give a second thought about putting on a Bluetooth, air pods or headphones. However, when it comes to wearing hearing aids, a stigma exists. When it comes down to it, folks are worried about wearing something that makes them look “old.” The idea that hearing aids are still giant, bulky, beige apparatuses that stick out like a sore thumb is nothing but a long-standing stereotype! Rest assured, hearing aids on the market today are nothing like that! Hearing aids now are consciously made with style in mind. They are light weight, come in a variety of colors, are typically about an inch or less long (for behind the ear models), are designed with comfort in mind, and even look high tech! Additionally, most products now double as wellness products as well as function as health trackers (think Fit Bit) and Bluetooths. If aesthetics is the reason for delaying hearing help, then delay no more! We assure you, there is something appealing for everyone!

Myth #5: My friend/loved one did poorly with hearing aids, so I will do poorly with hearing aids.

We can’t tell you how many times we have heard, “Well my sister hated her hearing aids,” or “my friend wore hearing aids but still struggled to hear.” Unfortunately, the experience of others is a frequent deterrent from pursuing hearing help. It is important to note that success with hearing aids is dependent upon many factors, including the technology chosen. One patient may do well with one brand while another patient might do poorly with the same brand. Hearing aids contains unique components and processing chips that are unique to each manufacturer who makes them. Therefore, all hearing aids are not created equal; nor are the skills of the practitioners who fit them. Success with hearing technology is highly depended on the skills of the practitioner fitting the hearing aids. A knowledgeable and compassionate practitioner who takes a comprehensive approach to hearing health is key to patient success!

Additionally, hearing loss affects people differently, therefore, hearing aids will benefit everyone differently. Every person has a unique story of how their hearing loss occurred, not to mention some have contributing genetic factors! Furthermore, hearing is processed in the brain. Just as no two fingerprints are alike, no two brains process sound exactly alike. That being said, we cannot emphasize enough the experience of others is a poor measuring stick for another’s success!

We want patients to feel encouraged by what they learn from our Pro Hearing professionals. It is our hope that by tearing down a myth at a time, we can give people who are weary of hearing technology the information they need to make better-informed decisions on their way to better hearing. No time like the New Year to start your journey to better hearing! If you or a loved one are struggling with hearing loss or and have questions about hearing technology, please call us today at (405) 748-3600 or www.prohearingok.com.

Thank you!

Dr. Pam Matthews, Audiologist
Pro Hearing, LLC
9409 N May Avenue and 10404 S Pennsylvania Ave
Oklahoma City, OK

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