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Hearing Loss Myths You Should Never Believe

Man with Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is one of the most common health conditions that people experience in their lifetime. According to the American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA), hearing loss is the third most common chronic health condition in the US. However, it is also one of the most frequently misunderstood conditions, with several misconceptions surrounding it. Knowing the facts about hearing damage can help you prevent it and better understand what it is like for those who suffer from it.

1. Hearing loss only affects the aging and elder populations

This is one of the most harmful yet frequently believed myths. Hearing loss does commonly occur in those who are older because individuals tend to lose hair cells in their ear during the aging process (the loss of hair cells ultimately affects the auditory health and performance). However, many other behaviors and conditions can affect ear health. For example, exposure to loud noises by listening to music and other sounds increases the probability of hearing loss.

2. It would be easy for me to tell if I have hearing loss

Many individuals who experience hearing loss may ignore it or not realize its presence. Some may even go onto think that their doctor would pick up signs of hearing damage in their annual physical visits. However, very few physicians routinely check for hearing loss. According to the Center for Hearing and Communication (CHC), only 16 percent of doctors routinely screen for hearing loss. The rest usually only do so on the request of the patient or when obvious signs of serious damage are present.

In order to prevent hearing loss, individuals should be aware of and watch out for the signs of hearing loss which often go unnoticed. For instance, if you hear a buzzing or humming sound, especially after listening to music or loud sounds, it could be a sign of damage.

3. I only need hearing aids if I have severe damage

Many people can benefit from wearing hearing aids. More than 37.5 million, or 15 percent of those over 18, have difficulties with hearing. Yet, in adults under the age of 70, only 16 percent of those who could benefit from hearing aids actually wear them. When individuals suffer from even a slight bit of loss in normal hearing, it can impact social interactions and other aspects of daily life. Using a hearing aid can significantly improve the auditory health. Also, hearing aids have also helped with conditions such as tinnitus — when an individual perceives imaginary humming, ringing and other sounds.

4. Hearing aids will completely restore my hearing

The problem with hearing damage is that once it occurs, it can’t be reversed. Hearing aids and cochlear implants significantly improve hearing performance and a person’s overall quality of life; however, even with correction, hearing can never be quite as it used to be before. Dismissing certain signals or confusing them with other issues puts your ear health at risk. When you aren’t aware of the facts and signs of hearing loss, it can go unnoticed and grow into an even bigger problem than before. If you or someone you love is suffering from hearing loss, consider making an appointment with an audiologist to have the problem assessed and treated if necessary.