Hearing aid myths
Like mobile phones and virtual reality, hearing aid technology has also made enormous progress, leaping into the future. Here are six of the greatest myths and misconceptions around modern hearing aids.
When people think of the term ‘hearing aid’, they may think of a clunky, beige-coloured device that sits on the ear in plain view. Many people don’t realise that with the advances in technology, many modern hearing aids are so discrete, you can’t even see them.
Here are some of the most common myths and misconception surrounding modern hearing aids.
Myth 1: Hearing aids haven’t changed much since my great-grandparents had them
This is one of the greatest misconceptions surrounding hearing aids on the market today; modern hearing aids are nothing like they used to be. Not only are they smaller and more discrete, some modern aids can stream phone calls or music directly from your phone or television through optional accessories.
Bupa accredited audiologist, Jason Scarborough, says the clarity of sound has changed significantly, too.
“Once-upon-a-time, hearing aids would simply amplify sounds. Whereas these days, the technology is so advanced, some aids can recognise conversations and reduce background sound to make the relevant sounds clearer,” he says.
Myth 2: Hearing aids are obvious and ugly
These days, many of the best hearing aids can’t even be seen. Some are designed to sit entirely within your ear, deep enough that they’re invisible from the outside. Some of them can be worn for months at a time without the need to change batteries.
Other aids sit behind the ear with a fine wire or clear tube running into the ear canal, barely visible.
While some people believe hearing aids will make them look silly, with today’s technology, people are more likely to look silly if they can’t hear a conversation properly or miss vital information in work meetings.
Myth 3: Hearing aids don’t make much of a difference unless you’re “really deaf”
Jason says many people don’t notice their own hearing difficulties, but often other people around them do. Mild hearing loss can be misinterpreted by others as rudeness or ignorance and can impact learning and career opportunities.
“In social or work settings, if a conversation is not understood, this can be construed as disinterest, making people less likely to want to interact with the person experiencing hearing loss,” he says.
“I find people in these situations often end up feeling isolated from others and may shy away from social interactions. It can also impact their career development if they have difficulty hearing during meetings or group discussions at work.”
For children, it’s even more important as it can impact their learning and development.
“It’s imperative for children to be able to clearly hear speech for correct language and cognitive development. If a child is experiencing hearing loss, a hearing aid can significantly boost their ability to learn at school and develop language skills,” Jason says.
Myth 4: Hearing aids cost the price of a small apartment
The best hearing aids aren’t cheap, but there are a variety of different products available to suit different budgets. The cost of hearing aids range from around $1000 to $5000 each, depending on the technology and the size or style. It’s a health investment that may pay off in more ways than one if your hearing is impacting your career or your study.
Bupa members can get a 20% discount on the cost of all devices and accessories available at Bupa Hearing clinics
, as well as being able to claim a rebate from Bupa health insurance if they have eligible extras cover. Our accredited audiologists are not aligned to manufactuers of hearing aids, are not paid commissions and will recommend the product that will best suit your hearing health needs.
Myth 5: Hearing aids are only for old people
While hearing loss does become more common as people age, it’s also a significant health problem in young people. Hearing loss is the second most common health condition in the country, and is more common than heart disease, cancer, asthma and diabetes.
Myth 6: If I get a hearing test, they’ll push me into buying a hearing aid
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Good audiologists won’t push you into buying a hearing aid. They’ll simply asses your hearing health and provide advice and options tailored to your personal situation.
Jason Scarborough says people should be aware that some hearing clinics work on a commission basis, and some companies that provide hearing tests also manufacture their own hearing aids, so there’s an incentive for staff to sell you the most expensive product.
“At Bupa Hearing, we don’t work on a commission basis and we don’t make our own aids, so our number one goal is to look after your hearing health.”
He says there are other options for people who experience hearing loss who decide against a hearing aid.
“We can teach people who experience hearing loss different communication techniques that may help them hold conversations or hear the TV or phone more clearly,” he says. “Some forms of hearing loss may be indicators of other medical conditions beyond just the loss of hearing. A hearing test does not involve any invasive techniques; there are no needles, I promise!”