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At times, it seems as if we prefer to mislead ourselves. Wikipedia has an article named “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.

For instance, did you know that Thomas Edison didn’t invent the lightbulb? Or that sugar does not in fact make kids hyperactive? There are a wide variety examples of beliefs that we simply assume to be correct, but on occasion, it’s a good idea to reassess what we think we know.

For some of us, it’s time to reassess what we think we know about hearing aids. The majority of myths and misconceptions about hearing aids are founded on the problems associated with the outdated analog hearing aid models. But provided that most hearing aids are now digital, those concerns 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 stopping you or someone you know from purchasing 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 start with, hearing aids have been proven to be effective. A study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association comparing the effectiveness of three popular 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 publication of this study, 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 competent professional.

Bad experiences are probably the result of acquiring the wrong hearing aid, buying hearing aids online, contacting the wrong individual, or not having the hearing aids personalized and professionally programmed.

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

Reality: This one is relatively easy to disprove. Simply do a quick Google image search for “attractive hearing aid designs” and you’ll discover plenty of examples of sleek and colorful models from several manufacturers.

Additionally, “completely-in-the-canal” (CIC) hearing aids are available that are virtually or fully invisible when worn. The newer, attractive designs, however, convince some patients to go with the slightly bigger hearing aid models to showcase the technology.

Myth # 3: Hearing aids are too expensive.

Reality: Presently, some flat screen television sets 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 price dependent on performance and features. While you may not want — or need — the top of the line hearing aids, you can in all likelihood find a pair that suits your needs, preferences, and finances. Also keep in mind that, as is the situation 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 well worth the expense.

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

Reality: Remember myth # 1 that claimed that hearing aids are not effective? Well, it was probably created by this myth. Like we said before, hearing aids have been proven to be effective, but the one caution to that statement 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 consulting your eye doctor because your glasses need to be tailored according to the unique attributes of your vision loss. Buying hearing aids is no different.

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

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

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

Digital hearing aids dynamically process sound with a small computer chip so that you don’t have to be concerned about manual adjustments; in addition, 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 produce a custom mold for your hearing aids, providing a comfortable and suitable fit. While a one-size-fits all hearing aid will probably be uncomfortable, a custom-fit hearing aid conforms to the curves of your ear.