Hearing management

Updated 17 July 2018

7 facts you probably didn’t know about hearing aids

Hearing aids aren't just for elderly people – we’ve uncovered seven facts you probably didn’t know about these handy pieces of technology.

Despite the fact that many people use hearing aids, many of us may not fully understand what they actually do or how they work. We've uncovered seven facts you should know about these useful devices.       

1. Hearing aids are not just for the elderly

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 466 million people across the world suffer from disabling hearing loss – 34 million of these are children. It’s estimated that by 2050 more than 900 million people will be affected by disabling hearing loss. The WHO says that 1.1 billion young people – between the age of 12 and 35 – are at risk of hearing loss due to exposure to loud noise in recreational settings. 

2. Hearing aids can adjust automatically to surrounding noise

Our ears do an amazing job of picking up important sounds – such as your dinner date’s conversation in a busy restaurant or a bored colleague muttering under his breath at a meeting. Hearing aids can do exactly the same, and technological advancements have made them versatile in all sound environments.

3. Hearing aids will not cure your hearing loss

A hearing aid will not return your hearing to normal. And while a hearing aid won't cure your hearing loss, it will help you to hear conversations, the TV or the radio. A hearing aid will definitely improve your quality of life.

4. You should not buy hearing aids online

Sure, if you search online you might find a hearing aid that is more affordable than the quote you received. However, it’s impossible to know whether the device will work for you – in the same way that prescription glasses are tailored to your eyesight, hearing aids are tailored to your hearing needs. An audiologist needs to test your hearing and find the right hearing aid for you.

Doctor fitting hearing aid

5. You may need a hearing aid even if you have mild hearing loss

We all have different needs when it comes to hearing, and while some people with mild hearing loss don't require a hearing aid, others find that it makes a huge difference to them. If you are concerned or confused, book an appointment with an audiologist who will be able to help you figure out what you need.

6. You may need to wear two hearing aids even if you only experience hearing loss in one ear

You use both ears to hear, which means wearing two hearing aids may improve your hearing even more. According to the American Speech, Language, Hearing Association, wearing two hearings aids “lets you figure out where sounds come from. This is called localisation. It helps in noisy places and makes sounds more natural. Wearing two aids may make it easier to understand what others say.”

7. Hearing aids can be used in any lifestyle

As technology continues to improve, it means that no matter what type of lifestyle you currently enjoy, you'll be able to find a suitable hearing aid. Nowadays you can find hearing aids that are water resistant or waterproof. Just because you need to wear a hearing aid doesn't mean you have to change your lifestyle.  

Woman with hearing aid at beach

Image credit: iStock


Ask the Expert

Hearing Expert

Minette Lister graduated with a Bachelor of Communication Pathology (Audiology) from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Westville in 2015. Thereafter, she completed her compulsory year of community service at Phoenix Assessment and Therapy Centre in Durban. In 2017, Minette started working for Thompson and Hoffman Audiology Inc. She is passionate about working with children and adults to diagnose and manage hearing loss using state of the art technology. Minette offers hearing screening programmes for newborn and high-risk babies, as well as school-aged children, in order to decrease the incidence of late or unidentified hearing loss.

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