As I sat one hot afternoon hanging out with my friend Evelyn, my eyes wandered off to Stephanie and I couldn’t help but notice the small device behind her ear which I’d been observing for some weeks now
“Do you notice Stephanie is wearing a hearing aid?” I asked.
Evelyn looked at Stephanie, who was so engrossed in her phone, turned back at me, and said
“No, I think it’s a Bluetooth, how do you know it’s a hearing aid? Is she deaf, does she communicate with sign language?”
I paused, lost in my own thoughts. “No, but I think I’ve seen it somewhere,” I said. “Besides, she wears it all the time. I think it’s a hearing aid.”
Evelyn shook her head and said “No, I don’t think so. It might just be for fashion.”
But as the day wore on, I found myself unable to shake the image of Stephanie and her mysterious device. Was it a hearing aid, a fashion statement, or something entirely different? I was determined to find out.
This made me curious and I started asking questions.
Eventually, I discovered something that challenged what I thought I knew about hearing aids and made me see things in a new way and I’m here to also debunk some of the myths you’ve heard about hearing aids.
First, what is a hearing aid? According to the Oxford Dictionary, a hearing aid is a small amplifying device that fits on the ear, worn by a partially deaf person.
In simpler terms, It is a device that is worn in or behind the ears and it works by picking up sound through a microphone, processing the sound through an amplifier, and then sending the amplified sound through a speaker in the ear.
Myths Surrounding Hearing Aids
Aside from these devices having enormous benefits, there are some myths surrounding these concepts and I’m here to help you debunk them.
- Hearing aids are for deaf people: While hearing aids can benefit individuals with severe or profound hearing loss, they can also benefit those with mild to moderate hearing loss. The goal is to improve overall communication and quality of life. Hearing aids can be customized to fit the specific needs of the individual user and can be programmed to amplify specific frequencies or sounds more than others. It’s important to note that hearing aids are not a “cure” for hearing loss, but rather a tool to help manage it. So the myth ‘hearing aids are for deaf people is not entirely accurate
- Hearing aids are only for old people: While age-related hearing loss is common, people of all ages can experience hearing loss due to a variety of factors such as noise exposure, genetics, and medical conditions. Hearing aids can benefit anyone with hearing loss, regardless of age. Many younger people, including children, teenagers, and young adults, use hearing aids to manage their hearing loss and improve their communication abilities.
- Hearing aids only work for a particular set of people: While the effectiveness of hearing aids may vary depending on the severity and type of hearing loss, hearing aids can benefit many individuals with varying degrees of hearing loss. Hearing aids can be customized to fit the specific needs of the individual user and can be programmed to amplify specific frequencies or sounds more than others. Fortunately, technological advances in hearing aids have made them more effective and user-friendly than ever before, with various features and styles available to meet different needs and preferences.
- Hearing aids can make hearing worse. This is wrong. While improper use of hearing aids or failure to seek appropriate treatment for hearing problems can lead to some serious cases, properly fitted hearing devices can help prevent hearing loss. Taking immediate action when you notice you’re beginning to feel pain or discomfort in your ear can help curb and solve advanced problems.
- Only one hearing aid is necessary: some individuals with hearing loss in only one ear benefit from wearing a single hearing aid, and many people with hearing loss in both ears benefit from wearing two hearing aids. This is because wearing two hearing aids can improve sound localization and speech recognition in noisy environments, provide a more natural listening experience, and help prevent “auditory deprivation” (the loss of speech understanding ability due to a lack of auditory stimulation over time). Additionally, wearing two hearing aids can help prevent further hearing loss by providing more balanced auditory input to the brain.
In conclusion, the myths surrounding hearing aids can create stigma and prevent people from seeking treatment for hearing loss.
We can embrace and show love to people who wear hearing aids by educating ourselves about hearing loss, being patient and understanding in communication, and normalizing the use of hearing aids as a tool for better communication and quality of life.