Did you know that hearing loss is the third most chronic physical condition in the United States? It’s true! Nearly 48 million Americans deal with some form of hearing loss.
Yet, as common as hearing loss has become there are still a lot of myths and misconceptions about hearing loss, as a result, many stigmas and stereotypes still exist.
Over the years we’ve picked up various nuggets of information when it comes to hearing loss. Some of it we get from our friends and family, some comes from media, and some of it we read in passing. Some of that information is one hundred percent true and some of it is false.
So let’s take a minute to sort out the facts from the fiction!
FICTION: Hearing loss only affects elderly people.
FACT: Hearing loss can happen at any age. Nearly 40% of people living with hearing loss in America are under the age of 60. It is true that as you age, you naturally experience hearing loss but there are also many other contributing factors. Even teenagers and children experience hearing loss. Young people are reporting increased rates of hearing loss due in part to the popularity of earbuds and headphones.
FICTION: Hearing loss is only caused by being close to loud noises.
FACT: Hearing loss can be caused by a number of different factors. Exposure to loud noises can indeed lead to noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) but age is another major contributing factor. Lots of people have a combination of noise-induced and age-related hearing loss. Hearing loss can also be caused by illnesses, autoimmune diseases, infections, medications, or underlying health conditions.
FICTION: Hearing aids are inconvenient.
FACT: Hearing technology has come a long way. In the past hearing aids have been clunky and not very precise. However, improvements continue to be made with each year that passes. Nowadays, modern hearing aids are small, discreet, and can be calibrated to suit your specific hearing needs. Some hearing aids can even sync up with smartphones and Bluetooth-capable media players.
FICTION: If I can hear alright, I don’t need hearing aids.
FACT: You should get hearing aids as soon as you determine that you have hearing loss. If you wait it will only progress and get worse. It may even get to the point where your hearing loss negatively impacts your day-to-day life. For many people, the onset of hearing loss is so gradual that they become used to making accommodations for their hearing loss before they realize that they’re even doing it. Using hearing aids is a revelation for people with hearing loss.
FICTION: If people spoke up you would hear better.
FACT: You would still struggle to hear, even if people spoke louder. Yelling or speaking louder may serve only to distort sounds more. The problem is hearing loss makes it difficult to distinguish between spoken voices and ambient sounds. With hearing loss, it’s hard to hear higher frequencies that don’t change with volume.
FICTION: Everyone with hearing loss uses hearing aids.
FACT: About one in five people dealing with hearing loss get hearing aids. Even though untreated hearing loss can lead to depression and anxiety many people opt to avoid getting hearing aids.
FICTION: Everyone with hearing loss uses sign language.
FACT: Not everyone with hearing loss communicates the same. There are a lot of people with hearing loss that can’t even spell their names in sign language. People with hearing loss use a multitude of techniques to communicate including; reading lips, facial expressions, and body language.
FICTION: You’ll be the first to notice if you’re experiencing hearing loss.
FACT: Most times it is close friends and family that notice your hearing loss first. Because hearing loss is so gradual you don’t even realize you’re experiencing it. The human mind is adept at adapting! You may not have even noticed that you’re listening to the television a little louder every year or that you are asking others to repeat themselves more often, but your loved ones probably will.
If you’re curious about your hearing health, call us today to schedule an appointment for your hearing test!