Audiologists Busting the Myths of Hearing Loss
When someone finds out they have a hearing loss, they can sometimes be nervous because of what they may have heard about hearing loss or what they have experienced. For instance, they may feel that hearing aids are only for older people or that people of their age group do not normally suffer hearing loss.
There are lost of myths out there about hearing loss and audiology. Some of them are spread through word of mouth. However, most myths are held by people individually through their own life experiences.
This may be mainly because they do not know anyone personally with a hearing loss, or the only people they know with hearing loss are elderly people.
Audiologists have to do a lot of the “myth busting” associated with hearing loss. They focus a lot of time on education in order to help people understand that their hearing loss is normal and can be treated in a way that they can feel comfortable and confident about.
Here are some of the most common misconceptions about hearing loss and the truth to go along with them.
Myth: Surgery will fix my hearing loss.
Truth: Though surgery may be the answer for some people, it's only the cure for hearing loss in about 5-20% of cases.
Myth: I don't need hearing aids because I still have one “good” ear.
Truth: People often believe one of their ears is “better” than another because they favor that ear for use, when in reality both ears have fairly equal hearing loss. About 90% of patients need a hearing aid in both ears.
Myth: I'm no told enough to have a hearing loss.
Truth: Hearing loss affects people of all ages. It's not just a problem for older individuals. Only about 36% of hearing loss patients are older than 64.
Myth: My family physician would have detected a hearing loss by now.
Truth: Hearing loss can often be missed by family physicians. Only 14% of family physicians routinely screen for hearing loss during a physical exam. Most people can hear well enough in a quiet environment like a doctor's office, so even when they do screen for possible hearing loss, it can be missed.
Myth: I can hide my hearing loss.
Truth: Other people usually notice a hearing deficit more than the person with the hearing loss. You may not realize that you have missed part of a conversation, responded inappropriately, or communicated ineffectively. Others may also be too polite to point it out to you.
Myth: Hearing aids will be noticeable and embarrassing.
Truth: There are many discreet hearing aid options available. Some of them cannot even be seen by other people while you are wearing them.
Myth: Hearing aids will be too hard to adjust to.
Truth: Hearing aids used to amplify all sounds. Now, hearing aid technology has advanced so that hearing aids can selectively amplify only the sounds that you need to hear. They can also adjust to different environments and settings.
All of these things make hearing aids surprisingly easy to adjust to, and you will benefit greatly from the improved ability to communicate and function on a daily basis.
I hope that this myth busting has eased some of your (or your family member's) fears about having a hearing loss or getting hearing aids. If you are still worried, speak with your audiologists about your fears and concerns. It never hurts to ask questions and get more information.