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4 Hearing Aid Facts You Probably Didn't Know

By Stefanie Sandler Billette, MS, ACE-CHC
You probably know hearing aids help people with hearing loss. Here are some hearing aid facts you may not know.

Hearing aids may lower the risk of dementia, depression, and falls, according to NPR. Yet the Hearing Loss Association of America reports that only 1 in 5 Americans with hearing loss use a hearing aid. This may be due, in part, to confusion about what hearing aids can and cannot do. Here are 4 interesting facts about hearing aids that could help you decide whether a hearing aid is right for you.

You can listen to music through your hearing aids.

Modern hearing aids have more advanced technology than you might think, like Bluetooth. You can connect your hearing aids to Bluetooth devices to listen to music, talk on the phone, and watch television.

Most behind-the-ear (BTE) or receiver-in-canal (RICs) hearing aids have some form of Bluetooth in them that can allow for direct connection and streaming with your smartphone,” Rivka Strom, AuD, CCC-A, assistant professor of audiology at the City University of New York and owner of Advanced Hearing NY in Brooklyn, N.Y., tells WebMD Connect to Care. “It does depend on the make and model of your devices and smartphone, so please check with your audiologist about compatibility with your phone if Bluetooth is important to you.”

You can test drive your hearing aids.

If you’re unsure about which type or style of hearing aid is best for you, you can wear your top choices for a trial period. 

“Any audiologist or hearing aid dispenser must offer you a hearing aid trial,” Strom says. “The length of the trial depends on the state where you purchased the devices. For example, in [New York], hearing aids come with a 45-day trial period. This means that if you are not satisfied, you can exchange or return your hearing aids within the trial period and you will be refunded most of the initial costs minus a small processing fee.”

Hearing aids don’t work like eyeglasses.

While eyeglasses may be able to perfectly restore your eyesight, there is no treatment for hearing loss that will result in perfect hearing. According to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, you may experience improvement with hearing aids, but there is a limit to what hearing aids can do. A hearing aid cannot duplicate what a normal ear would do for you. But it can help.

Having two hearing aids may give you an advantage.

With normal hearing, both ears have similar signal strength, according to Harvard Health. Even if you only have mild hearing loss in one ear and moderate or severe in the other, you will probably want to get two hearing aids. If you are wearing one hearing aid and someone talks into the ear without a hearing aid, their voice may sound softer compared to any noise in the background and your brain may have trouble focusing on the voice. So, two is usually better than one.

Hearing loss can be managed and treated.

The earlier you address the symptoms of hearing loss, the more likely you are to avoid irreversible damage. Get the answers you need to start treatment today.