Breaking Hearing Aid Stigmas
According to Healthy Hearing, 30 million people in the United States suffer from hearing loss, yet only about 15 percent of that group has ever worn a hearing aid. This is definitely true in southeast Michigan. From my experience, about 1 in 10 patients who have treatable hearing loss refuse treatment.
Most of the time it is not the cost, it is because hearing aids have unfair stigmas attached to them.
Below are the top five hearing aid stigmas that I see and the truth that breaks them.
They are ugly – This is by far the biggest deterrent people have when considering hearing aids. Many people think that hearing aids are bulky, uncomfortable, and embarrassing. However, this is far from the truth. For several years now, hearing aid manufacturers have been able to create smaller, less visible amplification devices that sit comfortably within the ears. Although hearing aids have not become as trendy as glasses (yet!), they are also not ugly and most aren’t even noticeable!
They are expensive – Another common worry I hear from patients is the price of their hearing aids. Although hearing aids can be expensive–ranging from $2000 to more than $6000 for a pair without insurance–consider their worth. Your hearing is important! You want to hear and understand your children and communicate confidently. If cost is your biggest worry, consider pursuing payment options. We partner with a company that offers loans, allowing patients to pay monthly for their hearing aids. Unfortunately, some people can’t even afford monthly payments. In this circumstance, a non-profit, Lions Hearing Center, comes in. Lions works with the less fortunate to provide hearing aids to everyone who needs them.
They are easily damaged – People don’t want to shell out thousands of dollars on devices that may or may not work and that might easily break. Our company ensures that your aids are not only reliable and durable but also personalized to your hearing preferences. We have a fully functional in-office repair lab and all hearing aids come with a warranty.
They aren’t worth it – Some people worry that they won’t use their hearing aids or that wearing them won’t make a difference. Both ideas must be addressed separately. First, hearing aids are so worth it! They not only amplify sound for better hearing but also discourage brain atrophy. Hearing loss deprives the brain of certain stimuli, causing cognitive decline. According to a 2019 study, hearing loss is associated with a significant increase in the risk of dementia, especially in patients aged 45 to 64 years. Their findings suggest that implementing early hearing protection, screenings, and the use of hearing aids may help reduce this potential risk factor for dementia. Of course, hearing aids can be a benefit to you only if you wear them every day! You decide whether to abide by the rule or not. By wearing them inconsistently, you make it more difficult for your brain to readjust to normal hearing once you again use your aids.
They make me look old – We already covered that hearing aids are smaller and less noticeable than they used to be, but we should also mention that they are also used by people of all ages. In fact, a WHO report from 2015 forecasted that 1.1 billion teens and young adults would injure their hearing permanently due to excessive use of headphones and louder and louder music festivals. Also, people with hearing loss who avoid amplification seem older because they are constantly asking others to repeat themselves or are struggling to keep up a steady conversation. I often ask my patients, what do you think makes you look older? Constantly asking others to repeat or wearing barely noticeable amplification that allows you to enjoy AND keep up with the conversation?
If I haven’t convinced yet take time to read these happy patients’ reviews:
Dr. Inman could be the single best audiologist I have been to in all my years wearing hearing aids! She began our visit by getting an assessment of my hearing health and what type of "noise" environments" I was in. She then recommended a pair of hearing aids that have been since working amazingly for me since! She took the time to guide me through using the hearing aids/the phone app and brought me back to do real ear measurements during my second visit that helped further fine-tune them. I would recommend Dr. Inman to all my family and friends!
I stumbled into Dr. Inman’s office by serendipity. I was desperate to get reliable hearing aids. She tested me right away, fitted me with a demo, and went on to fit with the best hearing aids I could get.
She is amazingly friendly and helpful. She gave me the best professional attention like I was the only patient in her practice. She is by far the best professional I have met. Bailey, her assistant is very helpful and friendly as well. They make a great team. They both walk the extra mile towards professional excellence.
Dr. Inman has been a lifesaver! I have been a bilateral hearing aid user since the age of 42. When I met her she listened carefully to my need to have the best aids I could afford. I am a speech-language pathologist and a very important part of my career is to hear and help children correct their speech sounds. She knew that this was important and appreciated that I wished to help students via teletherapy. With that in mind, she has helped to set up my aids so that they are now wirelessly connected to my laptop! This is a game-changer for me! Also, she is very astute on the subject of tinnitus. She has been helping me with that through my hearing aids, as well. I appreciate how sincerely passionate she is about positive audiological benefits for her patients! Thank goodness our paths connected!
Uchida, Yasue, et al. "Age-related hearing loss and cognitive decline—The potential mechanisms linking the two." Auris Nasus Larynx 46.1 (2019): 1-9.