Getting reliable information from the internet about hearing aids can be overwhelming. There are many sources for hearing aid education, but some of it can seem to be conflicting. In fact, much of the information is published just to get you to buy something. Some of the information is presented in a way that is meant to scare the buyer into purchasing hearing aids. This makes it hard to know who or what to believe.
At Coates Hearing Clinic, we are committed to educating our patients about hearing loss and treatment options. Here are 5 myths about hearing aids that we hear on a regular basis:
1: “Hearing aids will make me look old.”
Older styles of hearing aids tended to be bulky and noticeable. The size of the sound processor has been reduced significantly over the years, making it barely noticeable (if at all) and more comfortable now. In fact, you probably walk past people every day who are wearing hearing aids that you don’t even see! There are models that hide behind the ear (BTE) with nearly invisible wires and custom models that sit completely inside the ear canal itself. You can also now choose from a variety of colors to match your hair or skin tone to further disguise the presence of the device if this is a worry for you.
2: “Hearing aids are too expensive.”
For years, hearing aids have been overpriced by the major chain providers. Increased competition and better access to information has helped to bring down the price of these incredible devices. While the “miracle $599 hearing aid” is still a myth, the days of $8000-9000 hearing aids are gone.
We have patients tell us on a weekly basis that our prices are hundreds of dollars less than the popular hearing aid chain stores that you see advertised. We’re able to provide this pricing because we are an independent provider. We fit all 6 of the major hearing device manufacturers. This competition helps us keep our prices low. It also allows Dr. Coates to choose which device is best for your hearing loss, lifestyle and financial situation. We also offer payment plans on all of our devices.
3: All hearing clinics are created equal
We offer a different level of service than the hearing aid clinics in our area. If you are evaluated at one of the local hearing aid sales companies, you will likely be treated by a competent professional who has your best interest at heart. They will probably be an expert in the one brand of hearing aid that they sell. The difference between their level or service and ours is our provider, Dr. Coates. She has years of training specifically for ear and hearing issues. Instead of trying to treat hearing loss the same way every time (by telling a patient that they need hearing aids), she evaluates the whole patient (and their lifestyle) to come up with a hearing loss treatment plan for them. If hearing aids will help a you, she will prescribe a specific manufacturer and level of technology that best fits your individual needs. She’ll then program the device based on the results of your hearing test.
Dr. Coates spends at least an hour and a half with each new patient and uses real ear verification measures (REM) on each hearing aid patient. If you are unfamiliar with REM, check out this video to learn about its importance: Real Ear Verification Measures. We also have the Coates Café, a one-of-a-kind hearing aid testing/simulation room, that we use to show the benefits of hearing loss treatment.
4: The $599 devices I see advertised on TV and in magazines will work for me
This kind of device is designed simply for sound amplification. Instead of processing sounds, these devices just make the sounds louder. While this seems like it might work, these devices make the frequencies that patients can already hear much louder while doing very little to help the frequencies that the patient has trouble with. Imagine a life where the things you can already hear are louder while still being unable to hear the things you couldn’t hear before.
Hearing loss is not just about volume, it’s about processing. In contrast to these cheap devices, medical grade hearing aids are individually programmed to modify incoming sound and process it based on your specific type of hearing loss. This, by the way, is why seeing a Doctor of Audiology is so important: You can have the most advanced hearing aids in the world, but if they are not programmed correctly, your hearing will remain unchanged.
5: Hearing well is not that important
Our website has a whole page dedicated to Research. We have posted articles that show the links between hearing loss and other medical issues such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The most important of these studies detail the link of hearing loss and cognitive decline (Alzheimer’s, dementia, etc). Hearing is exercise for the brain and, if you aren’t hearing well, your brain isn’t exercising like it should. Hearing loss can also lead to depression because of the social isolation that results from not being able to be a part of conversations going on around you. As you can see, hearing well is very important.
We’re here to help. From the beginning, we’ve committed our practice to presenting our patients with a treatment plan based on research and medical evidence. We’re not hearing aid salespeople, but if hearing aids will help you, there’s not a place in our area that’s better equipped to help you. Don’t let the misinformation that’s on the internet keep you from getting help. Call us today for an appointment and let Dr. Coates and the staff at Coates Hearing Clinic take care of you.