As professionals in the hearing health industry, we’re regularly faced with the misconception that hearing aids are a lot like glasses. After all, both work to correct a deterioration of one of our senses, right? That may be true, but there are far more differences than there are similarities.
- Most eye problems are mechanical in nature, while most hearing problems are sensorineural. While this is somewhat of an oversimplification, this is an important distinction to make. There is a big difference in the underlying causes of hearing and vision loss. Treating hearing loss can be challenging due to the relationship between the ears and the brain. However, treatment for vision loss is relatively straightforward, as long as the optic nerve is healthy.
- Eyeglasses won’t protect against vision loss. Glasses compensate for the muscles in your eyes so that they are working less. Over time, these muscles can weaken and your eyesight may deteriorate. On the other hand, your brain actually works harder when hearing aids are in use. Hearing aids work to stimulate the nerves in the ear which, in turn, send more activity to the brain. This helps to preserve your hearing.
- The mechanics in hearing aids are more complex. Glasses typically serve one function: to refract light at the correct power to improve eyesight. Bifocals can be more challenging to get used to, but the process is still somewhat direct. Hearing aids offer corrections (gain) for each individual frequency, which requires sophisticated digital technology. In eyeglasses, this level of complexity might be similar to the lenses continuously adjusting the spectrum of colors.
- Hearing aids require more trial and error. With some exceptions, the process to identify an individual’s eyeglass or contact prescription is relatively simple. After a prescription has been obtained, there is typically little follow-up or tuning required. With hearing aids, your audiologist will likely try multiple options to find the device that suits you best. Because each individual experiences hearing loss differently, your devices will likely need to be tuned to ensure the right set of frequencies are amplified and filtered. This can require you to have multiple fitting appointments with your hearing aid doctor.
Hearing and vision loss are two conditions that can be properly managed with the help of an expert. However, hearing aids may require more fine-tuning than your eyeglasses. With some patience and a professional audiologist on your side, you can find the hearing device that best suits your lifestyle. If you or a loved one is experiencing a hearing loss, don’t wait to seek treatment. To schedule a consultation with one of the best audiologists around Houston, contact our team at (281) 578-7500!