Debunking outdated ‘truths’ about hearing aids

Mar 22, 2023
Source: Getty Images.

Did you know that about 58 per cent of Australians aged 60 to 70 experience hearing loss? That’s nearly 3.55 million adults! Depending on what caused the hearing impairment, the severity can range from moderate loss to severe or profound hearing loss.

Unfortunately, there are still quite a number of older adults who suffer from hearing loss but choose not to find proper treatment because of outdated misconceptions they may have heard about hearing aids.

So if you’re still hmmm-ing and umm-ing about whether you should get started using hearing aids, hearing experts at the Starts at 60s Masterclass on World Hearing Day debunked some of the most common myths about hearing aids.

MYTH: Hearing aids are bulky and ugly

FACT: One reason many people are put off by using hearing technology is because of the misconception that devices are large, clunky and ugly. Nowadays, hearing aids are quite stylish, lightweight and discreet.

According to Lize Coetzee, Chief Operating Officer at Ear Science Institute Australia, this outdated perception originated from a time when hearing aids still used old technology.

Hearing technology has progressed so far over the years,” she says. “I think many people still think hearing aids are bulky things that sit behind your ear and whistle and end up in the drawer, but they’ve come a long way.” 

Heading aids come in a variety of different styles and colours to choose from, so you’re sure to find one that works best for you.

MYTH: Hearing aids make you look old

It’s important to keep in mind that hearing loss affects individuals of all ages, from children and teens to adults and seniors. Many youngsters use hearing aids, so wearing one yourself does not imply anything about your age.

Many hearing aids on the market today are extremely small and inconspicuous, so there is no need to be concerned about their appearance. The completely-in-the-canal (CIC) hearing aids, for instance, are almost nearly invisible.

MYTH: Your hearing declines quicker once you start using hearing aids

FACT: As hearing aids amplify sounds, it’s natural to have concerns about the likelihood of worsening your hearing loss. However, Coetzee reassures us that using hearing aids do the exact opposite.

Just like we go to the gym and try and stay fit with our muscles, we need to exercise that brain of ours and keep listening and putting ourselves into situations where we are using our hearing aids so it keeps our brain and ear stimulated,” she says. 

If your ears and your brain are not given any sound it goes a bit lazy and can’t interpret sound any more.” 

Hearing aid manufacturers have also incorporated safety measures to prevent harm to your hearing. Despite the fact that a hearing aid will undoubtedly increase the volume of sounds, it will not generate noises that are loud enough to inflict damage to your hearing.

MYTH: Hearing aids are complicated to use

FACT: As Coetzee previously mentioned, hearing technology has come a long way. They no longer have little fiddly batteries that are hard to put in, causing you to lose them and become dangerous if you’ve got grandkids around. 

Compared to earlier models, modern digital hearing aids are significantly easier to use. These devices can automatically detect your surroundings and adjust their settings accordingly, eliminating the need for manual adjustments.

Other features that may be available in some hearing aids include feedback cancellation, telecoil functionality, and remote control options.

MYTH: Hearing loss is normal for my age, I don’t need hearing aids

Although it’s true that hearing loss typically becomes more prevalent with age, it does not imply that you must tolerate the toll it has on your life. If hearing loss is affecting your quality of life, it’s recommended to consult an audiologist. Your age should not influence your decision.

Interested in learning more about the relationship between healthy ageing and hearing loss, and what you can do? Re-watch our Masterclass here.

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