Ten Reasons Hearing Aids Are NOT Like Glasses

Do your friends and family ever wonder why you don’t hear better with your hearing aids? Mine sometimes do, which can be frustrating, especially when you are working extremely hard to hear the best that you can. They might be confused, thinking that hearing aids are just like glasses, and that once you put them on, your hearing is restored to normal. Those of us with hearing aids know this is not the case. You can read more about that here.

Below are my top 10 reasons why hearing aids are not like glasses. Share this post with your loved ones and help them understand the difference.

Please add to the list in the comments!

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LWHL’s Top 10 Reasons Hearing Aids Are Not Like Glasses

1. They do not restore your hearing to “normal” — things will be louder, but not always clearer, making it difficult to understand speech.

2. They amplify all sounds, including those you don’t want to hear like the hum of the refrigerator and other background noise.

3. They are not seen as fashion accessories, although some hearing aids now come in colors.

4. They often remain shrouded in stigma and shame, unlike glasses which make you look “smart.”

5. They are not regularly covered by insurance making them prohibitively expensive for many.

6. They need batteries to function.

7. They can increase sensitivity to loud sounds.

8. They squeal at inopportune times.

9. They can’t get wet.

10. They are easily misplaced and can sometimes be mistaken for a snack by the dog given their size.

Readers, what reasons would you add to the list?

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51 thoughts on “Ten Reasons Hearing Aids Are NOT Like Glasses

  1. We talked about hearing aids just this past weekend, during a family gathering. When asked, my father said he doesn’t need one … that people are just mumbling, but that has nothing to do with his hearing. My uncle then pointed out that he wears two … which I didn’t even notice until he pointed it out. It was a lengthy discussion, so I won’t bore you with the dialogue.

    However, not once did anyone say that they DON’T hear better with them — I didn’t know that. Is it that they amplify, which also may distort the sound being amplified?

    Thank you for this; it helps me to better understand.

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    • Imagine when a person speaks through a microphone. Sometimes the microphone echos and there is feedback, it squeals. Not only can one hear the speaker on the microphone, but they may also hear breathing, rustling of papers and clothes, etc. This is a similar amplification to hearing aids. They magnify everything. Not just what we want to hear. There are sophisticated versions available with better noise cancelling functions, but they are not perfect and can be thousands of dollars.

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  2. You can’t quickly or easily buy/replace hearing aids at Marshall’s (for example) where three pairs of glasses cost $9.99.

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  3. Sometimes it feels good to be a little snarky and do a little complaining 😉 I understand! I love the comments above because it shows that there is a community of people who can relate to each other and can support each other. I just had to put the positive spin on this post for some perspective.

    1. They do not restore your hearing to “normal” — they don’t provide perfection or “20/20″, but they bring great benefit.

    2. They amplify all sounds, including those you think you don’t want to hear like the hum of the refrigerator and other background noise. Many of those sounds can seem surprising at first, but your brain will adjust to the majority of those new sounds in the first week. The higher the quality of the hearing aid, the smoother that transition will be and the more they will compress background noises.

    3. They have not been seen as fashion accessories, although some hearing aids now come in colors. The perks these days are because hearing aids can be virtually invisible and can now stream phone calls and music from your smartphone.

    4. To some they are still shrouded in stigma and shame, unlike glasses which make you look “smart”, but wearing an invisible device that keeps you in the conversation is actually very “smart”. The younger generations do not see stigma like their older counterparts did.

    5. They are not always covered by insurance, but financing options can make them accessible for more people. The price of hearing aids has not gone up in over a decade even though the technology has increased at lightening speed, giving immensely more value for the price.

    6. They need power to function. This may be in the form of disposable batteries or a recharging station.

    7. They can increase sensitivity to loud sounds if they are not programmed correctly, but one of the benefits to new technology is the ability to amplify soft sounds to be comfortably heard, while compressing loud sounds within the individual’s comfort level.

    8. They used to squeal at inopportune times, but today’s feedback controls and 3D printing capabilities keep that mostly under wraps.

    9. They can’t be submerged, though a coating is painted on all of the internal electrical parts to make the devices as water repellant as possible.

    10. They are easily misplaced and can sometimes be mistaken for a snack by the dog given their size, which is why several storage cases are included with the devices to keep them tucked safely away at night and also why the smartphone compatible aids have a “find my hearing aids” function to track them down by GPS!

    Hearing aids provide immense benefits, while presenting many of their own challenges. This is how I view hearing aids, in a positive light, which I believe helps in the acceptance and use of these devices that bring so much value to people’s lives. Cheesy yes! But that’s me!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. As you mentioned in point 8, they squeal at inopportune moments; especially when your mould is getting too loose and it can take up to 4 weeks for a new mould to arrive (at my old hospital anyway!) by which point the squeaking is incessant!

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  5. Hearing aids do not heal the damage inside our ears, so even when the amplification is just right at all the various frequencies to compensate for our hearing loss, there’s still an element of distortion due to the damage that exists within our hearing mechanism. Normal hearing people don’t understand that.

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  6. One negative I’ve found with hearing aids is that I can’t hear as well without them as I used to. I asked my audiologist why this seemed to be,and she said it was because my brain has rewired itself to accept a higher level of sound as the new normal. Anyone else find this to b true?

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  7. I have a different situation with my problem, having a hearing aid for each ear.
    I had my aids for about two years abd was getting really used to them when I was diagnosed with IPF… It’s a fatal lung disease which requires me to use oxygen when exerting (anytime I’m walking more than a block as well as exercise time) so I have a cannula in my nose which goes up and over my ears and then down to a device that gives me oxygen. It’s so difficult when you take that thing on and off so many times a day and then the hearing aids go flying!
    I’ve resorted to not using my hearing aids as often as I might want to because of this difficulty as I can’t afford to lose them or damage them.

    It’s just another thing I’ve learned to deal with .

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  8. My 8 year old loves her hearing aid and wears it like a fashion accessory. Today she got her glasses to. She feels the coolest kid on the block. She has it all matching in pink. I love how the stigma is changing. She is a true fashionista.

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  9. Hearing aids require extra devices, unlike glasses, to function for 6′ or greater distances. The extra device(s) are needed in many cases to: use a smartphone, use a television, use a tablet, use a PC, use a radio, go to a movie, hear a public speech etc. Each of these devices may be proprietary to a company. Different federal entities (FCC) and laws regulate the “distance hearing/media connection devices” (telecoil in tablets nonexistent; Captioning only certain things; Lack of phone volume and speech clarity data for cellphones) than regulate hearing aids (FDA).

    It is like instead of bifocals, you had to use different controls for your glasses to work to view a TV or an Android smartphone or an Apple tablet or a Dell or a movie theater!

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  10. In my BLog, I wrote an Ode to my hearing aids. Yet only in German, but soon in English too. I could’t funktion without them and to be honest, I passed the stage of being embarred that people see them. I wouldn’t mind them to look as piece of art or juwellery, if it wasn’t that expensive.

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  11. Nice list!

    To add:

    – Hearing aids can’t distinguish who’s saying what – you all sound similar in a large group.

    – Hearing aids are hard to wear with headphones.

    – Hearing aids don’t pick up whispers well

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    • I sooooo needed to read this today. My partner doesn’t understand why I can’t hear, despite the fact that I wear hearing aids. I am so grateful for them … but the buzzing, whining and whistling drives me insane some days. I also have times when I feel very lonely and ‘out of things’ because although I can hear ‘noise’ as such, my brain won’t define the words … however, at least I can hear. I’m still adjusting after a year.

      However, on a lighter note … my partner calls me ‘buzz’ because when he swoops in for a snog, my hearing aid whistles and buzzes! He’s also now got ‘tubular bells’ as his ringtone for me which I think is hysterical!

      Thanks for the post – i’ve only just come across your blog today, and it has made my day 🙂

      Like

  12. I am very disappointed with the number of negative comments I have read above. All of you invested a great deal of money to improve your hearing , or as we state it,”making your conversations easy” and greatly saddens me to know that you are dealing with dissatisfaction.
    I have been in the field for over 33 years and what I am reading smacks of the complaints that we had of the old analogue hearing aids.

    With the modern digital hearing aids we have at our disposal today, if fit correctly, the experience should’ve been a positive one ; not a disappointing one.

    The questions I would ask you are the following:

    Where are you rushed through the fitting of your new hearing aids?
    Were you given regularly scheduled follow-up appointments or a phone call after you received your hearing aids to see if any adjustments or minor tweaks needed to be done?

    How much experience did your practitioner or audiologist have?

    Did you purchase your hearing aids from a private clinic with very experienced professionals and did you pay for a service plan to go with your investment.? Or better still were you even offered one ?

    Did you Purchase your hearing aids of large box store?

    When fitted with your hearing aids, was it in a room that was quiet or was it in a room where noise was presented while the hearing aids were being adjusted.

    How much counselling and questions about your lifestyle expectations were asked prior to even being tested ?
    Granted when you wear hearing aids, you are going to hear sounds again that were robbed from you a few years earlier, but they don’t need to be at a level that is taking your head off and with all the channels that we have this can be done subtly and comfortably.
    In conclusion, if you were sold low-end hearing aids or even mid level hearing aids and told that you were going to hear well in the presence of background noise ,then you were misled. Those levels are great for quiet and small group conversations but to hear properly in the presence of busy background noise ,especially when you have a high-frequency lost ,you need the high-end product.

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    • Proper fittings and good followup are important, but even the best hearing aids combined with the best care will not restore your hearing perfectly. I think that is what people are trying to express. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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  13. Hi

    We all know from our individual experiences that hearing aids aren’t perfect.

    The trouble is that hearing people don’t.

    Comments such as “He has selective hearing” or “He doesn’t always put his hearing aids in” for example don’t help. As if we can switch hearing loss on and off.

    Hearing aids can help re-connect us to the hearing world but in some situations the reconnection may not be as great as in others.

    Then there is what hearing sound is like through hearing aids. I know that when I put mine on in a morning then a sudden barrage of almost mechanical sound hits me. This settles down in a minute of so but hearing people don’t understand that when we try to have a conversation or give something our attention then there is normally some other noise to compete with.

    I often describe what wearing hearing aids is like to hearing friends as being what having a slightly overloud radio playing in their heads all day would be like.

    Then there’s the physical feel of hearing aids in our ears, especially I find, when the weather gets hot.

    Love the blog

    Like

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