Sometimes, it seems like we enjoy to mislead ourselves. Wikipedia has an entry named “List of common misconceptions” that consists of hundreds of widely-held but false beliefs. Yes, I know it’s Wikipedia, but take a look at the bottom of the webpage and you’ll see approximately 385 credible sources cited.

As an example, did you know that Thomas Edison didn’t invent the lightbulb? Or that sugar does not in fact make kids hyperactive? There are a multitude of examples of beliefs that we just assume to be true, but on occasion, it’s a good idea to reexamine what we think we know.

For many of us, it’s time to reexamine what we think we know about hearing aids. Almost all myths and misconceptions about hearing aids are based on the problems linked with the outdated analog hearing aid models. But seeing as the majority of hearing aids are now digital, those problems are a thing of the past.

So how up-to-date is your hearing aid knowledge? Keep reading to see if any of the top 5 myths are preventing you or someone you know from getting a hearing aid.

The Top 5 Myths About Hearing Aids

Myth # 1: Hearing aids are not effective because some people have had bad experiences.

Reality: First of all, hearing aids have been demonstrated to be to be effective. A study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association comparing the performance of three popular types of hearing aids concluded that:

Each [hearing aid] circuit markedly improved speech recognition, with greater improvement observed for soft and conversationally loud speech….All 3 circuits significantly reduced the frequency of problems encountered in verbal communication….Each circuit provided significant benefit in quiet and noisy listening situations.

Moreover, since the release of this study, hearing aid technology has continued to get better. So the question is not whether hearing aids work — the question is whether you have the right hearing aid for your hearing loss, professionally programmed according to your preferences by a competent professional.

Negative experiences are probably the result of buying the wrong hearing aid, buying hearing aids online, contacting the wrong individual, or not having the hearing aids customized and professionally programmed.

Myth # 2: Hearing aids are big, cumbersome, and unsightly.

Reality: This one is rather easy to disprove. Simply do a quick Google image search for “attractive hearing aid designs” and you’ll see several examples of sleek and colorful models from numerous producers.

Also, “completely-in-the-canal” (CIC) hearing aids are available that are virtually or completely unseen when worn. The newer, attractive designs, however, convince some patients to go with the slightly bigger hearing aid models to show off the technology.

Myth # 3: Hearing aids are too expensive.

Reality: Today, some flat screen television sets with ultra-high definition curved glass sell for $8,000 or more. But this doesn’t make us say that “all TVs are too expensive.”

Just like television sets, hearing aids range in cost according to performance and features. While you may not want — or need — the top of the line hearing aids, you can without doubt find a pair that matches your needs, preferences, and budget. Also keep in mind that, as is the situation with all consumer electronics, hearing aids are becoming more affordable each year, and that the value of better hearing and a better life is almost always worthy of the expense.

Myth # 4: You can save time and money buying hearing aids online.

Reality: Remember myth # 1 that asserted that hearing aids are not effective? Well, it was probably caused by this myth. Like we said before, hearing aids have been proven to be effective, but the one caveat to that assertion has always been that hearing aids have to be programmed by a professional to ensure performance.

You wouldn’t dare buy a pair of prescription glasses online without contacting your eye doctor because your glasses need to be individualized according to the unique characteristics of your vision loss. Buying hearing aids is exactly the same.

Yes, visiting a hearing specialist is more costly, but consider what you receive for the price: you can be sure that you get the right hearing aid with the right fitting and settings, combined with follow-up care, adjustments, cleanings, instructions, repair services, and more. It’s worth it.

Myth # 5: Hearing aids are uncomfortable and challenging to operate.

Reality: If this relates to analog hearing aids, then yes, it is mostly true. The thing is, virtually all hearing aids are now digital.

Digital hearing aids dynamically process sound with a tiny computer chip so that you don’t have to be concerned about manual adjustments; additionally, some digital hearing aids can even be controlled through your smartphone. The bottom line: digital hearing aids are being manufactured with maximum ease-of-use in mind.

Your hearing specialist can also create a custom mold for your hearing aids, assuring a comfortable and ideal fit. While a one-size-fits all hearing aid will very likely be uncomfortable, a custom-fit hearing aid conforms to the contours of your ear.