When faced with the fact of hearing loss — or the likely need for a hearing aid — a number of myths might be lodged in one’s understanding that will need to be rethought. Here are some common “fact or fiction” scenarios.
The first is getting over the assumption that “my hearing’s not that bad, so I don’t really need a hearing aid.” Most hearing loss is gradual, not sudden. The reason it’s slow moving is because the ability to hear different frequencies degrades at different rates, meaning you can hear a lot of things and sort of deal with it. For awhile — and at a cost. But high-quality hearing is based on effectively hearing the entire sound spectrum within the human range. The sooner a hearing aid is used to restore all of the sounds the ear can process the better.
A secondary assumption is that most people only need one hearing aid, that the “good” ear is good enough to continue going solo. Sometimes that’s the case, but if hearing loss is due to noise exposure — well, both ears were probably taking a beating. And the same genes are at play on both sides of your head. A binaural fitting is often the best choice, since the brain is wired to have both ears inputting sound of equal quality.
Finally, one myth is that getting a hearing aid is pretty much like getting glasses. Actually, adjusting to using a hearing aid is a little more complicated. A new pair of glasses might take some getting used to externally, but the brain really doesn’t need to do any readjusting to process clearer vision. Hearing is a little more complicated. There’s more variance in the details of what frequencies an individual is not processing. That’s why the fine-tuning of hearing aids — much easier and impactful with today’s powerful computer-based models — and auditory training will very likely be part of adapting to a new hearing aid.