Sometimes, it seems like we love to deceive ourselves. Wikipedia has an entry named “List of common misconceptions” that contains hundreds of universally-held but false beliefs. Yes, I understand it’s Wikipedia, but take a look at the bottom of the webpage and you’ll see around 385 references to credible sources.

For instance, did you know that Thomas Edison didn’t invent the lightbulb? Or that sugar does not actually make kids hyperactive? There are a great number of examples of beliefs that we simply assume to be accurate, but once in a while, it’s a good idea to reassess what we think we know.

For some of us, it’s time to reexamine what we think we know about hearing aids. Virtually all myths and misconceptions about hearing aids are centered on the issues connected with the older analog hearing aid models. But provided that most hearing aids are now digital, those problems are a thing of the past.

So how current is your hearing aid knowledge? Keep reading to see if any of the top 5 myths are keeping you or someone you know from obtaining 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: To begin with, hearing aids have been proven to be highly effective. A study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association comparing the effectiveness of three popular types of hearing aids determined 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.

Additionally, since the release of this research, 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 based on to your preferences by a qualified professional.

Negative experiences are likely the result of receiving the wrong hearing aid, purchasing hearing aids online, consulting the wrong individual, or not having the hearing aids customized and professionally programmed.

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

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

Additionally, “completely-in-the-canal” (CIC) hearing aids are available that are virtually or completely hidden when worn. The newer, attractive designs, however, compel some patients to go with the somewhat bigger hearing aid models to showcase the technology.

Myth # 3: Hearing aids are too expensive.

Reality: Today, some flat screen televisions 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 vary in cost according to performance and features. While you may not want — or need — the top of the line hearing aids, you can probably find a pair that meets your needs, preferences, and budget. Also take into account that, as is the case 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 well worth the expense.

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

Reality: Remember myth # 1 that alleged that hearing aids are not effective? Well, it was most likely created by this myth. Like we said before, hearing aids have been proven to be effective, but the one caveat to that statement 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 consulting your eye doctor because your glasses need to be custom-made according to the unique attributes of your vision loss. Buying hearing aids is no different.

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

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

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

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

Your hearing specialist can also generate a custom mold for your hearing aids, providing a comfortable and proper fit. While a one-size-fits all hearing aid will most likely be uncomfortable, a custom-fit hearing aid conforms to the shape of your ear.