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Although strides have been made to normalize acknowledging and treating hearing loss, we still see quite a few outdated mythologies circling the hearing health conversation. From misconceptions about hearing aids to subtle and sometimes undetectable types of hearing loss, the fictions abound.
Fiction: I’ll know if and when I have hearing loss.
Fact: Actually, hearing loss is notoriously difficult to self-diagnose. This is because the early signs are so subtle. As we lose the integral hair cells of the inner ear, we tend to hear low frequencies in external noise instead of an overall lowering of volume. This typically presents as trouble with speech clarity, and it seems like everyone is always mumbling. Or, we activate the closed captioning function on our televisions to catch dialogue.
The truth is that our friends and family often notice our hearing loss before we do.
Fiction: A hearing exam showed no hearing loss, so even though I have trouble with speech clarity it’s not because of hearing loss.
Fact: Recently, audiology science has discovered a condition referred to as ‘hidden hearing loss.’ While it’s undetectable on a traditional hearing exam, further testing can reveal treatable hearing loss. The problem in hearing happens in the brain, not the ears, and so typical means don’t pick up on the condition. Further testing is now widely available at many audiologists’ offices. If you think you have hearing loss but haven’t been able to receive a diagnosis, ask your hearing health provider about testing for hidden hearing loss.
Fiction: Living with hearing loss is a part of aging.
Fact: While it’s true that the natural aging process can result in hearing loss, living with hearing loss doesn’t have to be the only outcome. Living with untreated hearing loss is a choice and so is trying to navigate the world through a challenging listening experience.
There are all types of hearing loss interventions available that make the listening experience easier and more pleasant. Cochlear implants, previously an invasive and taxing surgery, have become so routine that it’s an outpatient procedures. Hearing aids are more affordable, accessible, and powerful than ever before. And, with Bluetooth technology, it’s easier to integrate hearing aids into all the various listening experiences of your life.
Fiction: Hearing aids didn’t help my parents and they won’t help me.
Fact: Few industries have been so advanced by the computer revolution as the hearing solution industry. Today’s hearing aids are smaller and more powerful than ever before. Digital technology allows these tiny machines to filter out background noise and hone in on the sounds you want to hear, like people’s voices.
Judging contemporary hearing aids by the technology your parents or grandparents used is like comparing apples and oranges or apples and orange juice! It’s just not helpful because the realities of today’s technology are so different.
Fiction: I’ll get hearing aids if my hearing loss becomes unmanageable.
Fact: If you believe this fiction, you’re not alone. Most people with hearing loss wait an average of ten years before seeking treatment. By that time, the vibrant and interconnected qualities of your life have been irrevocably changed. What’s more, your brain has adapted to receiving less sound information and it has to work extra hard to regain lost ground.
Treating hearing loss when it appears can lessen the burden of trying to intervene down the road. By acknowledging your hearing loss early, you can become accustomed to hearing aids or other solutions before your condition becomes debilitating. Overwhelmingly, hearing aid wearers report improved relationships. Wouldn’t it be nice to relax in your closest relationships without having to fix them or break connections in the first place?
Fiction: Treating hearing loss doesn’t help.
Fact: Investing in your hearing health has bigger payoffs than being able to enjoy your favorite television program without straining to hear dialogue or enjoy group events with lots of chatter like a grandchild’s birthday, a concert, or a dinner party. While hearing aids or other interventions can make listening to a more pleasant and easier experience, they can also ward off complicating conditions of hearing loss like depression, anxiety, and isolation. There are also compelling links between treating hearing loss and decreasing the risks of dementia.
All of our systems are connected and intervening in hearing loss doesn’t treat your hearing troubles in isolation. You’ll also see the rewards in many other areas of life.
Schedule a hearing consultation today
These misconceptions about hearing loss are just a few of our favorites to debunk, but there are many more out there! If you have doubts about scheduling a hearing consultation, contact us today.