Myths about hearing loss
With more people losing their hearing there is plenty of myths about a hearing loss.
1. Hearing loss only happens to old people. While hearing loss can be age related, there are millions of younger people who are damaging their hearing by exposing themselves to prolonged loud noise. This can be at work, listening to the radio, television or personal audio devices.
2. If I had a hearing loss I would know. Once again, because a hearing loss is most frequently gradual, we slowly become accustomed to it and donít realize how deaf we are. We blame those around us for mumbling or not looking at us when theyíre speaking. It takes on average 6 years for someone with a hearing loss to have it diagnosed.
3. Even if I do have a mild loss it doesnít matter and I donít need to do anything about it. A mild hearing loss can cause social isolation. But worse, if you donít stimulate the hearing you have left then you will lose it faster. It is better to wear a hearing aid early rather than later.
4. My doctor would tell me if I have a hearing loss. Most doctors are so busy, pushing patients through in about 15 minutes for every appointment they do not spend time in talking about general health. They will treat you for what you have come in for and are likely to assume you have done something about your hearing loss yourself.
5. I can always wear a hearing aid when it becomes too bad. Youíve probably heard the saying Ďuse it or lose it.í This is extremely true of your hearing. If you donít stimulate your hearing nerves then they die faster.
6. Only people with a severe hearing loss need hearing aids. In fact only mild to moderate hearing loss can be helped with a hearing aid. After that there is usually too much damage to the hearing hairs and a hearing aid may no longer help.
7. Living with a hearing loss canít be that hard. I challenge you. Try it. You wonít realize how much you rely on your hearing just to get through each day. The sound of the car revving so you know when to change gears, the noise the washing machine makes when it starts up, the phone ringing, someone at the door, the morning alarm to wake you, the baby crying in the next room, your friends chatting, the water running so you know the tap is still on. Youíll be surprised at how much you miss when you canít hear it.
8. An operation can fix up a hearing loss. Most hearing loss cannot be cured. Once youíve lost it itís gone for good.
9. A hearing aid returns normal sound. Unlike glasses a hearing aid doesnít return hearing.
10. Cheap hearing aids are just as good as expensive ones. Far from it. The cheaper hearing aids simply amplify all sounds regardless of whether you need those frequencies amplified or not. This results in an imbalance of sound and can make it even harder to understand speech. More expensive aids have computers which can be programmed to help your kind of hearing loss. The most common reason people say hearing aids donít work is because they donít have a hearing aid which is right for their hearing loss.
11. I only need to hear with one ear. Sound from both sides allow you to understand more. You know which direction things are coming from. In background noise two ears are better than one because your brain hears from both sides and filters out the sound better.
12. If I see someone wearing a hearing aid, I should shout so they can hear me. It is far better to keep your voice at a normal volume, face the person and perhaps speak marginally slower. This will allow the person with the hearing loss to focus on your face and read your lips. Shouting distorts your lip shape and makes it even harder to lip read.
There are many myths about hearing loss. From one who knows Ė I hope you never go deaf. It is isolating, debilitating and destroys self esteem.