At times, it seems as if we prefer to deceive ourselves. Wikipedia has an page called “List of common misconceptions” that includes 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 notice around 385 credible sources cited.

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 plenty of examples of beliefs that we simply assume to be accurate, but on occasion, it’s a good idea to reassess what we think we know.

For many of us, it’s time to reexamine what we think we know about hearing aids. Most myths and misconceptions about hearing aids are based on the problems associated with the antiquated analog hearing aid models. But since the majority of hearing aids are now digital, those concerns are a thing of the past.

So how up-to-date is your hearing aid knowledge? Read below to see if any of the top 5 myths are preventing you or someone you know from purchasing 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 proven to be effective. A study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association comparing the performance of three popular styles 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 publishing of this investigation, hearing aid technology has continued to improve. 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 according to your preferences by a skilled professional.

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

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

Reality: This one is particularly easy to disprove. Just perform a quick Google image search for “attractive hearing aid designs” and you’ll discover several examples of sleek and colorful models from several manufacturers.

Additionally, “completely-in-the-canal” (CIC) hearing aids are available that are nearly or completely invisible when worn. The newer, stylish designs, however, persuade some patients to choose the slightly larger hearing aid models to display the technology.

Myth # 3: Hearing aids are too expensive.

Reality: Presently, some flat screen television sets with ultra-high definition curved glass retail 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 depending on performance and features. While you may not want — or need — the top of the line hearing aids, you can more than likely find a pair that suits your needs, preferences, and finances. Also be mindful that, as is the scenario 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 very likely created by this myth. Like we stated before, hearing aids have been proven to be effective, but the one caution 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 on the web without contacting your eye doctor because your glasses need to be customized according to the unique characteristics of your vision loss. Buying hearing aids is no different.

Sure, visiting a hearing specialist is more costly, but think of what you get for the price: you can be certain 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 complicated to operate.

Reality: If this relates to analog hearing aids, then yes, it is generally true. The thing is, practically 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; in addition, some digital hearing aids can even be controlled through your smartphone. The bottom line: digital hearing aids are being produced with maximum ease-of-use in mind.

Your hearing specialist can also establish a custom mold for your hearing aids, providing 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 shape of your ear.