Can You Hear Me?

Research by the non-profit Better Hearing Institute has shown that, for people with hearing loss, hearing aid usage provides positive quality-of-life benefits. Yet only one of every five people who could benefit from wearing hearing aids actually does.


So why don’t more people wear hearing aids when their benefits have been proven? Common misperceptions certainly play a part. Change your perception of hearing aids and they could change your life!

Some folks think that hearing aids are more trouble than they’re worth. Certainly everyone’s experience is different. Your friend, family member or co-worker may not have gotten the results they expected, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a good solution for you. Old technology and hearing aids not fit by a hearing professional can present problems for many people. But today’s advanced digital technology has resolved many complaints about hearing aid performance and comfort.

Another misperception is that they’re too expensive. It is true that hearing aids are a significant investment and lack of insurance reimbursement can be a barrier. But given the improvement they make in quality of life, productivity and earning potential on the job, the money spent can be more than worth it. Prices vary among hearing styles, models and providers, as well—so it pays to discuss all your options with a trained hearing professional.

A major misperception is that they’ll make you look older. The reality is that today’s hearing aid styles are smaller and more discreet than ever before. In fact, many models are designed to be invisible when worn. They also come in a wide variety of colors to either blend with hair and skin tones or to stand out as fashionably colored electronic communications accessories similar to commonly worn Bluetooth® headsets. The bottom line is your hearing loss is more obvious than your hearing aids and accepting the help that today’s advanced devices offer can keep you as young as you feel.

Some people believe the myth that the new technology may make hearing aids more difficult to use. It is true that today’s hearing aids are more advanced than ever before and yet, they are actually easier to use.

They can be programmed to your hearing preferences in different listening environments, and will automatically adjust, so you can move from one situation to another without manually changing settings. Whether you’re in a large group, an intimate conversation, or an outdoor setting, you’ll be appropriately tuned in.

Yes, today, they do work well in noisy places. Like all high-tech devices, hearing aids have advanced significantly the last 3-5 years. Whereas, older hearing aids amplified all sounds equally, making background noises uncomfortably loud, today’s hearing aids feature digital signal processing, directional microphones and noise cancellation technology designed to distinguish speech from noise, reduce background noise and eliminate feedback—to improve your ability to hear speech—even in the loudest environments.

Please keep in mind that even a little hearing loss is a big deal.

The fact is, studies have linked untreated hearing loss to “big deals” like stress, depression, social rejection, increased risk to personal safety, reduced earning power and more. But, because hearing loss often happens gradually, many people don’t notice how bad it has gotten until it’s too late. If you’re constantly asking people to repeat themselves, turning up the TV volume, or misunderstanding conversations around you, it might be time to seek help.



Dr. Gary D. Schwartzberg is an audiologist in private practice with offices in Waterville and Rockport Maine. He has over 26 years of clinical experience working with individuals of all ages with hearing difficulties. His areas of expertise include comprehensive audiological evaluations, counseling, and advanced digital hearing aid technology. For more information visit