Hearing aid myth busting

by Dr. Clint Keifer, FLT Columnist

We all have heard stories about hearing aids. With more than 15 combined years of educational and clinical experience, I have certainly encountered all sorts of re-told beliefs, tales and myths about these tiny devices and the people who wear them — good or bad, true or false, they are enough to give anyone pause. As your expert in the field, let me guide you past the top three myths.

Myth #1: Hearing aids will make me look old. 

The fact is that many new devices are so small and advanced that you really have to look to see them. Far more noticeable is when hearing loss goes untreated and causes frequent and embarrassing miscommunications. The perception of youth and energy is highly dependent on activity and positive engagement with others. Besides, there are more individuals with hearing loss below retirement age than above.

Myth #2: Hearing aids don’t work. 

While devices do end up in drawers instead of ears, this is almost never the fault of the hearing aid. This is typically due to improper selection and fitting techniques which result in poor benefits, physical discomfort and a generally bad experience. Obtaining the right device with appropriate counseling and progression of proper prescriptive settings can make all the difference. The knowledge and skill of your provider makes a significant difference in this regard, so it’s best avoid the sales pitch and seek services from a licensed doctor of audiology.

Myth #3: Hearing aids cost too much. 

Actually, yes they can. In fact, a hearing aid fitting at any price will be a very poor investment when positive benefit and consistent usage are not achieved (see above). Alternatively, restoring one’s ability to enjoy conversation at family gatherings, communicate effectively at work or recreation and take in the beautiful sounds of life on a daily basis could be worth everything. This is called value. While affordability certainly matters, payment plan options and technology pricing can be offered to match most any budget. The real concern is ensuring you receive the best possible value for your healthcare dollars. This is where your friendly neighborhood audiology myth-buster can guide you.

Dr. Clint Keifer is the owner of Great Lakes Audiology in Toledo. You can contact him at 419-327-2273; email at ckeifer@glaudiology.com; or visit http://www.GLAudiology.com.