A common concern among hearing aid candidates is how visible the hearing aid(s) will be in their ears. Not wanting others to see the device tends to be of utmost importance to many discussing hearing aid styles. We understand that this concern is valid and plays a critical role in one’s decision to pursue amplification and/or wear their hearing aid(s).
I would like to provide some other food for thought for those experiencing this particular concern.
1. Untreated hearing loss is more visible than anything you may have in your ear(s)
Untreated hearing loss puts you at a communicative disadvantage. You are forced to put more energy and effort into obtaining auditory cues and information that are dampened by the degree of your hearing loss. This makes communicating more effortful and leaves you more susceptible to miscommunications, misunderstandings and communication breakdowns. This can become quite frustrating for all parties involved and can lead to social isolation for the individual with a hearing loss. Missing jokes, not following conversations and asking for repetition are all visible behaviours that make your hearing loss more obvious to those around you. The hearing aid(s) can minimize or eliminate many of these behaviors that make your hearing loss apparent, making the aesthetics less relevant.
2. We wear a lot of devices in our ears
We live in a technologically advanced society where people of all ages wear a variety of devices in their ears. Bluetooth sets, headphones, custom ear plugs and a variety of other ear pieces are worn by many without hesitation. If you don’t believe me, just take a moment to watch those around you. We barely notice these devices because they are so commonplace in society. With the addition of masks worn during the pandemic, devices in ears are even harder to spot. These devices have in and of themselves made hearing aid(s) less noticeable to others. A plastic piece in your ear could be just about anything to a common observer. In fact, some hearing aid companies are designing hearing aids to look like a Bluetooth headphone. Maybe you have noticed them in someone’s ear without realizing that it was actually a hearing aid. This knowledge should offer some comfort to those that have insecurity associated with wearing hearing aid(s).
A plastic piece in your ear could be just about anything to a common observer.
3. There are different styles of hearing aid(s)
There are different styles of hearing aid(s). Some devices are bigger than others and there are typically a variety of options appropriate for any one person. Ideally, you should get the style of device that is most appropriate for your degree of hearing loss. Other confounding variables may make some styles more appropriate than others (e.g., as the hearing aid gets smaller, the batteries and other components also get smaller and this may be difficult for those with arthritis and/or numbness in their fingers to manipulate). However, if you have certain preferences for the appearance of the device, this can usually be addressed during your hearing aid evaluation. Your audiologist should explain the pros and cons of different styles of devices for your particular situation, but you will ultimately decide which style is best for you given these variables.
Hopefully this has provided some food for thought when guiding your decision to obtain hearing aid. Do not hesitate to discuss your concerns with your audiologist. We are here to guide you in this process.