Approximately 15% (37.5 million) of Americans over the age of 18 report some trouble hearing. (1)
Research indicates that only 34% of individuals with self-identified hearing loss currently wear amplification. The rates are not much higher in Europe where, in many countries, hearing aids are free. (2)
On average, people wait 4.8 years until getting an initial professional hearing evaluation, then wait another 7-10 years before taking action.
According to the Lancet report (3, 4), hearing loss is one of the most modifiable risk factors to possibly prevent or delay cognitive decline.
Surveys from numerous organizations found that hearing aids are under used. But there are many misconceptions about hearing aids that prevent people from using them.
Here is a list of some of the top misconceptions about hearing aids.
Myth 1: They are just little plastic things so they shouldn’t cost so much.
Fact: Hearing aids are small computers. Sophisticated circuitry is miniaturized to be worn in the ear (a notoriously harsh environment) all day long. It also takes a large multi-disciplinary team of experts in hearing science and acoustics years and millions of dollars devoted to inventing and validating new circuits and microchips.
Myth 2: Hearing aids will restore my hearing to normal.
Fact: Hearing aids do not restore your hearing to normal or "cure" hearing loss. But they do provide significant benefit and improvement to your communication and listening abilities and they can substantially improve your quality of life. Starkey also offers features that support health, wellness, and ease of use.
Myth 3: Hearing aids are all alike.
Fact: There are many different styles and technology levels of hearing instruments. They need to be carefully selected according to individual type and degree of hearing loss, listening needs, style preferences, cost considerations and other individual needs. They also need to be properly fit and adjusted for loudness and sound quality, as well as physical comfort for each individual wearer.
Myth 4: My hearing loss is not bad enough for hearing aids.
Fact: Everyone’s hearing loss and listening needs are different. Hearing loss typically develops slowly and subtly. Often it is others around you who notice the hearing loss first. By working with your hearing care provider, together you can determine how much hearing aids will improve your hearing and your quality of life.
Myth 5: My family member or friend had hearing aids and said they didn’t help.
Fact: There are many factors that come into play when it comes to hearing aids. No two people have the same hearing loss, the same listening needs, or even the same ear anatomy. Technology level and style, the hearing care provider, and even the patience and determination of the wearer are all variables in what can make a successful fitting and a happy outcome.
Myth 6: Hearing aids are big and noticeable and make me look old.
Fact: Today’s hearing aids are stylish and discreet and much smaller than they were years ago. Many people say their hearing aids are barely noticeable by others. Plus, walk down the street and you’ll see at least half the people have something sticking out of their ears.
There are many reported positive changes with hearing aid use, such as overall ability to communicate effectively, overall quality of life, ability to participate in group activities, and improved relationships, just to name a few (2).
If you are noticing trouble hearing, or if your family and friends are noticing you are having hearing and communication difficulties, reach out to a hearing care provider to help determine if hearing aids are right for you.
Not sure where to find one? Simply type your zip code in here and you’ll a generate a list of local providers who will be happy to help.
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Blackwell DL, Lucas JW, Clarke TC. Summary health statistics for U.S. adults: National Health Interview Survey, 2012(PDF). National Center for Health Statistics. Vital Health Stat 10(260). 2014. G Livingston, Jonathan Huntley, Andrew Sommerlad, et al.
MarkeTrak 10 (2019), healthyhearing.com
Dementia prevention, intervention and care: 2020 report of the Lancet Commission. The Lancet. July 30, 2020.
G Livingston, A Sommerlad, V Orgeta, et. Dementia prevention, intervention, and care. The Lancet. July 20, 2017.