Myths surrounding the use of hearing aids

May 28, 2012 by Sébastien Lanthier

Lobe, mythes, appareils, auditifs, lunettes, audition, presbyacousie

Are you embarrassed to wear glasses because you want to keep others from knowing you have vision problems? Are you always pushing off correcting your vision until later? Do you use a magnifying glass to read the newspaper instead of wearing your glasses? Then why keep your hearing problems a secret?

If you have a hearing loss, why are you embarrassed about wearing hearing aids? Could it be the myths surrounding hearing aids and deafness? If so, let’s demystify them. Following are a few examples of myths that hearing health professionals often encounter.

1. Hearing aids are too big; everyone will see I have them.

So? What’s important is that you hear and understand better. There are hearing aids that can be placed at the bottom of the ear canal. However, for people whose degree of hearing loss or size of auditory canal do not allow the wearing of this style of hearing aid, devices worn behind the pinna (ear flap) are much smaller and more dis-creet and comfortable than before. Matched to hair colour, they are essentially hidden.

2. Hearing aids produce feedback all the time.

Feedback is increasingly rare in new hearing aids, which are much improved in this regard, with their anti-Larsen system (which eliminates feedback as soon as the hear-ing aid perceives it). If there is feedback, it is likely because the hearing aid is not properly positioned in the auditory canal or the wearer has a ear wax plug.*

3. I don’t want two; I’ll look even deafer!

Wearing two hearing aids is nothing but positive, offering better under-standing in noisy situations and better spatial sound localization. The reason is simple: in most cases, hearing loss occurs in both ears. In fact, Dr. Sergei Kochkin of the Better Hearing Institute tells us that in 90% of cases, hearing loss occurs in both ears and therefore, two hear-ing aids are needed!

4. I don’t need them; at my age it’s normal to be hard of hearing.

Presbycusis is the degeneration of the cells of the inner ear. Therefore, it is normal that with age presbycusis affects your ears. What is not normal is not doing anything about it! It’s a bit like someone suffering from presbyopia (degeneration of the cells of the eye) telling you he no longer reads the newspaper because he doesn’t see well. That makes no sense! A simple correction can fix everything and improve your quality of life in one step.

5. I won’t like it.

A study shows that 92% of hear-ing-impaired people who wear hearing aids are satisfied with them. This study, conducted by Dr. Kochkin, also reveals that nine out of ten people agree that their quality of life has improved since they have hearing aids. You know, the best way to find out if you’d like wearing hearing aids is to try them!

Because of these myths, you are depriving yourself of the joy of hearing your grandchildren, birds singing or understanding what people are saying to you. When you meet hearing health profes-sionals and they recommend you to wear hearing aids, understand that it is because you need them.

The goal of a hearing aid is not to show everyone that you have a hearing problem, but to clearly understand the people talking to you, to help you appreciate your time with family members and friends. It simply means that you are taking care of your hearing and that you are solving a problem a lot of people have, starting with yourself.

For more information, do not hesitate to contact an audioprosthetist at a Lobe Santé auditive et communication multidisciplinary clinic. 

References:
* See the article “Mes appareils sifflent, est-ce normal?”, Lobe Magazine dated
August 15, 2008.
– KOCHKIN, S. “MarkeTrak VII: Consumer satisfaction with hearing instruments in the digital age,” The Hearing Journal, September 2005, Vol. 58, No. 9: 30-43.
– www.hear-it.org
– KOCHKIN, S. “MarkeTrak VII: Hearing loss population tops 31 million,” The Hearing Journal, July 2005, 12: 16-29 and Fördergemeinschaft Gutes Hören.
– http://www.french.youth.hear-it.org/Les-appareils-auditifs-ameliorent-la-qualite-de-vie.
– BETTER HEARING INSTITUTE, www.betterhearing.org.
– CARMEN, Richard, and Shelley URAM. “The Consumer Handbook on Hearing Loss & Hearing Aids: A Bridge to Healing,” The Hearing Journal, April 2012.

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