The treatment options for hearing loss have made such incredible advancements that it is completely common and simple to live a perfectly normal life despite hearing loss. But to do that, obviously you must seek and maintain appropriate treatment. The greatest barrier that prevents people from doing this is the common misconceptions that people have about hearing loss.
These misconceptions delay and even stop people from getting proper treatment, perpetuating the many potential dangers that hearing loss poses. Knowing the truth about hearing loss is the first step to minimizing the risk that hearing loss will cause unnecessary harm to you or a loved one.
MISCONCEPTION: Hearing loss is rare
TRUTH: Hearing loss is a common and natural aspect of aging. Same as everything else physical and fragile, the delicate and minute inner workings of our ears decay, and such decay obviously has negative repercussions on the smooth mechanics of hearing.
Far more people are impacted by hearing loss than many people know. Though congenital hearing loss affects fewer than three out of every 1,000 babies born in the U.S., the ratio of the population that suffers from it increases steadily with age. It is commonly estimated that over 13% of everyone over the age of 18 is directly affected by it. And shockingly, by the time we consider the demographic of people aged 75 years old and above, more than half of everyone that age has hearing loss.
MISCONCEPTION: If hearing loss is such a common part of aging, it must be relatively harmless
TRUTH: Without appropriate care, hearing loss most often spirals quickly into all manners of dangerous consequences that necessarily damage every aspect of our lives: social, professional, emotional, psychological, and even cognitive. Hearing loss is not just some risk to vanity like gray hair or an expanding waistline or wrinkles.
Hearing loss poses a physical risk by compromising your ability to orient yourself. Consider how hearing loss would harm your ability to navigate traffic as both a driver or a pedestrian. Consider how you would not hear sirens or alarms. But beyond that hearing loss poses an immediate physical risk in that you depend on your hearing to maintain your balance. Vertigo can cause all sorts of accidents even when you are by yourself in the most familiar of environments.
And consider how hearing loss would impact your quality of life. It hurts relationships by unnecessarily complicating communication, which frequently leads to feelings of depression, disorientation and eventually even cognitive decline.
MISCONCEPTION: You will know it when you experience hearing loss
TRUTH: People are slow to recognize their own hearing loss because of course we each experience the world through our own senses, and hearing loss comes on so incredibly gradually, how would you even notice if the fidelity of any one of your senses is declining? People are not mumbling nowadays. The clarity of your TV is not muddled. Those are symptoms of the newly emerging limitations of your ability to understand and interpret sound.
MISCONCEPTION: I’ll know when it is time to get my hearing tested
TRUTH: Maintaining your hearing health requires your active participation. There is no better way to know exactly how your hearing health objectively measures up than maintaining regular hearing exams performed by one of our specialists. The sooner you intervene to stabilize your hearing health, the more you minimize its compounding impacts on your life.
MISCONCEPTION: People that are hard of hearing all use sign language
TRUTH: Again, hearing loss comes on so gradually that most people never realized that they even had trouble communicating. So, only a very small percent of everyone with hearing loss actually has learned sign language and depends on it to communicate. Most people read lips and rely on assistive devices.
MISCONCEPTION: Everyone with hearing loss depends on hearing aids
TRUTH: The facts about hearing aid use are distressing. Because people are so slow to recognize their own hearing loss and acknowledge its seriousness, people that do use hearing aids wait an average of seven years to do so. That is a seven year procrastination, on average, from first considering using one to actually doing so. And just as sadly, less than one out of every five people with hearing loss actually does seek and maintain proper treatment.
MISCONCEPTION: Hearing aids will restore your hearing
TRUTH: No. Sadly, hearing loss is irreversible. Nothing will bring your hearing back. Hearing aids amplify the specific frequencies unique to your own hearing loss pattern, and that will improve the clarity with which you hear. But hearing aids do not repair your hearing itself.
Don’t hesitate. Take action today, because, remember, the longer you wait, the greater you risk your physical, emotional, and psychological health unnecessarily. Make an appointment with one of our hearing health professionals today to make sure that you are maximizing your quality of life.