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At times, it seems as if we enjoy to mislead ourselves. Wikipedia has an entry titled “List of common misconceptions” that contains hundreds of universally-held but false beliefs. Yes, I know it’s Wikipedia, but take a look at the bottom of the page and you’ll notice around 385 references to credible sources.

As an example, did you know that Thomas Edison didn’t invent the lightbulb? Or that sugar does not in fact make kids hyperactive? There are plenty of examples of beliefs that we simply assume to be correct, but every now and then, it’s a good idea to reevaluate what we think we know.

For many of us, it’s time to reexamine what we think we know about hearing aids. Many of the myths and misconceptions about hearing aids are based on the problems linked with the antiquated analog hearing aid models. But considering most hearing aids are now digital, those problems are a thing of the past.

So how up-to-date is your hearing aid knowledge? Read below to see if any of the top 5 myths are preventing you or someone you know from obtaining a hearing aid.

The Top 5 Myths About Hearing Aids

Myth # 1: Hearing aids are not effective because some people have had bad experiences.

Reality: To begin with, hearing aids have been proven to be effective. A study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association comparing the performance of three common styles of hearing aids determined that:

Each [hearing aid] circuit markedly improved speech recognition, with greater improvement observed for soft and conversationally loud speech….All 3 circuits significantly reduced the frequency of problems encountered in verbal communication….Each circuit provided significant benefit in quiet and noisy listening situations.

Moreover, since the publishing of this investigation, hearing aid technology has continued to get better. So the question is not whether hearing aids work — the question is whether you have the right hearing aid for your hearing loss, professionally programmed according to your preferences by a knowledgeable professional.

Bad experiences are most likely the result of receiving the wrong hearing aid, purchasing hearing aids online, consulting the wrong individual, or not having the hearing aids customized and professionally programmed.

Myth # 2: Hearing aids are big, bulky, and unsightly.

Reality: This one is relatively easy to disprove. Just perform a quick Google image search for “attractive hearing aid designs” and you’ll see several examples of stylish and colorful models from multiple producers.

Additionally, “completely-in-the-canal” (CIC) hearing aids are available that are nearly or fully hidden when worn. The newer, attractive designs, however, persuade some patients to go with the somewhat larger hearing aid models to display the technology.

Myth # 3: Hearing aids are too expensive.

Reality: Today, some flat screen televisions with ultra-high definition curved glass retail for $8,000 or more. But this doesn’t make us say that “all TVs are too expensive.”

Just like television sets, hearing aids range in cost dependent on performance and features. While you may not want — or need — the top of the line hearing aids, you can almost certainly find a pair that meets your needs, preferences, and budget. Also take into account that, as is the case with all consumer electronics, hearing aids are becoming more affordable every year, and that the value of healthier hearing and a better life is almost always worthy of the expense.

Myth # 4: You can save time and money buying hearing aids online.

Reality: Remember myth # 1 that maintained that hearing aids are not effective? Well, it was most likely brought about by by this myth. Like we stated before, hearing aids have been proven to be effective, but the one caution to that assertion has always been that hearing aids have to be programmed by a professional to assure performance.

You wouldn’t dare buy a pair of prescription glasses on the web without contacting your eye doctor because your glasses need to be tailored according to the unique characteristics of your vision loss. Buying hearing aids is exactly the same.

Sure, visiting a hearing specialist is more costly, but consider what you get for the price: you can be confident that you get the right hearing aid with the right fitting and settings, in addition to follow-up care, adjustments, cleanings, instructions, repair services, and more. It’s worth it.

Myth # 5: Hearing aids are uncomfortable and complicated to operate.

Reality: If this pertains to analog hearing aids, then yes, it is mostly true. The thing is, nearly all hearing aids are now digital.

Digital hearing aids dynamically process sound with a miniature computer chip so that you don’t have to be concerned about manual adjustments; additionally, some digital hearing aids can even be controlled through your cellphone. The bottom line: digital hearing aids are being manufactured with maximum ease-of-use in mind.

Your hearing specialist can also create a custom mold for your hearing aids, ensuring a comfortable and appropriate fit. While a one-size-fits all hearing aid will probably be uncomfortable, a custom-fit hearing aid conforms to the contours of your ear.