By some estimates, roughly 40 million Americans suffer from some degree of hearing loss. Yet despite the widespread nature of the problem, numerous misconceptions about hearing loss continue to circulate. In addition to being flat-out wrong, these faulty assumptions could actually be damaging, as following incorrect information can actually delay treatment and accelerate hearing issues. In order to set the record straight, here are five of the most common misconceptions about hearing loss.
Hearing Loss is a Natural Part of Aging
Even though your hearing ability can decrease as you age, it's far from a certainty. Most degenerative hearing loss can be slowed or stopped entirely through proper intervention. If hearing loss goes untreated, the brain loses its ability to process sounds, but assistive devices, such as hearing aids, can allow the brain to remain engaged with auditory stimuli and preserve your natural hearing ability.
But Only Old People Need Hearing Aids, Right?
This misconception is one of the most pervasive, and it's entirely untrue. Of all the hearing loss sufferers in the United States, only about 30% are over the age of 65. That means that there are millions of young people, many of them Millennials, who have hearing impairment that needs to be treated.
Certain Types of Hearing Loss Can't be Treated
In decades past, hearing aids did little more than make sounds louder, which limited their effectiveness. Fortunately, assistive technology has grown by leaps and bounds. Now, hearing loss stemming from a wide range of issues, such as nerve damage and high-frequency hearing loss, can be helped with hearing aids, making more than 90% of hearing loss treatable.
My Regular Doctor Can Diagnose Hearing Loss
Unfortunately, most general practitioners don't have the advanced training or equipment required to conduct proper hearing exams. At best, they can tell you if you have a hearing problem, but at that point you need to seek out a qualified audiologist. These specialists can properly diagnose hearing issues and recommend a course of action to help correct them.
When Speaking to People With Hearing Problems, Talk Louder
When interacting with someone who is hard of hearing, most people's natural inclination is to speak louder and slower. It may seem like a nice gesture, but you could actually be making the problem worse. Speaking too loudly can distort the sound being taken in by hearing aids, and over-enunciating can make it difficult to read lips. So it's generally better just to talk as normally and clearly as possible.
Hearing loss is a pervasive problem, and understanding the basics is necessary in order to limit its impact. If you think you may be experiencing difficult hearing, then speak to an audiologist in your area and start taking corrective action before the problem gets any worse.
If you or someone you know would like to learn more about hearing loss and how to treat it, please feel free to schedule a consultation or contact one of our representatives today!