Sometimes, it seems as if we prefer to mislead ourselves. Wikipedia has an article named “List of common misconceptions” that includes hundreds of widely-held but false beliefs. Yes, I understand it’s Wikipedia, but take a look at the bottom of the web page and you’ll notice approximately 385 references to credible sources.

For instance, did you know that Thomas Edison didn’t invent the lightbulb? Or that sugar does not in fact make kids hyperactive? There are countless examples of beliefs that we simply assume to be correct, but now and then, it’s a good idea to reevaluate what we think we know.

For some of us, it’s time to reassess what we think we know about hearing aids. Many of the myths and misconceptions about hearing aids are based on the issues associated with the older analog hearing aid models. But since most hearing aids are now digital, those issues are a thing of the past.

So how current is your hearing aid knowledge? Read below to see if any of the top 5 myths are stopping 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: To start 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 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 investigation, hearing aid technology has continued to get better. So the question is not whether hearing aids perform well — the question is whether you have the right hearing aid for your hearing loss, professionally programmed based on to your preferences by a skilled professional.

Bad experiences are likely the result of choosing 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 rather easy to disprove. Just perform a quick Google image search for “attractive hearing aid designs” and you’ll discover several examples of stylish and colorful models from numerous manufacturers.

Also, “completely-in-the-canal” (CIC) hearing aids are available that are virtually or completely unseen when worn. The newer, attractive designs, however, persuade some patients to choose the slightly larger hearing aid models to showcase 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 vary in price according to functionality and features. While you may not want — or need — the top of the line hearing aids, you can without doubt find a pair that meets your needs, preferences, and budget. Also bare in mind that, as is the scenario with all consumer electronics, hearing aids are becoming more affordable from year to year, and that the value of healthier hearing and a better life is usually well worth 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 created by this myth. Like we said before, hearing aids have been proven to be effective, but the one caution to that assertion has always been that hearing aids have to be programmed by a professional to ensure performance.

You wouldn’t dare purchase a pair of prescription glasses on the web without consulting your eye doctor because your glasses need to be individualized according to the unique attributes of your vision loss. Buying hearing aids is exactly the same.

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

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

Reality: If this makes reference to analog hearing aids, then yes, it is mostly true. The thing is, nearly 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 managed through your smart phone. The bottom line: digital hearing aids are being developed with maximum ease-of-use in mind.

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