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Hearing Aid Myths

Throughout the years, movies, cartoons, comic strips, and comedians have all made light of the way hearing aids look and function. In fairness, it wasn’t until the last 10 years or so that hearing instruments started to work really well in a variety of listening situations, and be extremely cosmetically appealing.

What led to the stigma around hearing aids?

  1. Whistling
    • Old-fashioned hearing aids had a tendency to generate a high-pitched whistle (also known as feedback) if the instrument became a bit loose in the ear. Everyone could hear the whistle except, of course, the person wearing the hearing aid. You’ve probably experienced feedback when someone holding a microphone walks too close to the amplifier, producing a loud squeal.
    • Well, current technology makes whistling virtually non-existent! No more embarrassing situations where hearing aids wh istle and neighborhood dogs show up.
  2. Not working well enough
    • Yesterday’s hearing aids had nowhere near the sound quality and features of today’s technology. Modern hearing aids are extremely effective. They’re comfortable to wear, both physically and sound-wise. Soft sounds, such as children’s voices, are automatically amplified, while loud sounds are kept within a comfortable range of hearing.
    • Noise reduction features help keep sound levels comfortable when the volume of surrounding sound increases. Further, advanced digital circuitry and directional microphone technology work in conjunction to help you more easily hear speech in noisy situations, such as restaurants, crowds or airports. And, special circuitry works to reduce wind noise when hearing aids are worn outside.
  3. They make me look “old”
    • Many people think “old age” when they think of hearing aids. To me, this is faulty logic.  Which is worse?  Wearing a hearing instrument (that’s unnoticeable) and understanding what’s being said? Or, not wearing hearing aids and constantly saying “huh?” Or, even worse, misunderstanding and responding inappropriately?
    • If “looks” are stopping you from investigating hearing aids, you have nothing to worry about. You’d be surprised how many people you encounter these days are actually wearing hearing instruments. They’re designed to be virtually invisible. They’re lightweight, comfortable to wear, and don’t make you feel “stuffed up.”

Stigma? Forget about it! There is really no reason not to try hearing aids if you have a hearing loss. So, if you suspect you might, go get your hearing tested. Heck, it may just be earwax. We’ll cover that topic soon.

John Cariola, Au.D.
John has been working in the audiology industry since 1983 and has a true love and passion for everything the hearing health world has to offer. He grew up witnessing the British Invasion of The Beatles, The Who, The Kinks, etc. which really means he started out life with sound, really loud sound. And his passion for all sound continues today. John is currently Beltone's Director of Product Management. More About John

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