Some Hearing Aid Myths Explained

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.

Ways To Work Out Your Hearing

There are any number of ways to maintain your hearing health — or even improve it. Here are a few ideas that you can incorporate into your life to help keep your hearing in shape.

Any kind of cardiovascular exercise will help your hearing. Blood flow is very important to the functioning of the inner ear and the brain, which processes the data sent to it. Activities like walking, running, swimming, yoga, or meditation can all help reduce stress, better circulation, and heighten overall health — which will be of benefit to your hearing health.

For many, meditation has proved very effective with hearing issues, including tinnitus. Stress can be a risk factor in hearing loss and anything that can lessen it will be beneficial. Also, practicing sound isolation — which overlaps with meditation in many ways — can help exercise your hearing system. By putting other senses in the background and concentrating on hearing the specific sounds around you. The parts of the brain that handle the hearing process can get a good workout. This can make a difference as the aging process changes the baseline of one’s hearing capabilities.

And there are specific yoga poses — tree, lotus, cobra, and triangle, for example — that act to increase blood flow specifically to the ear and the brain.

And in our digital age, there are a whole host of computer aids and apps that are designed to exercise your hearing system. Some of these are “brain teaser” games that exercise the brain in general ways, while other programs are designed specifically for those with hearing issues or as assistants in adapting to the use of a hearing aid.

There are a wealth of activities that can be part of keeping your hearing in tip-top shape.