It’s tough to understand a condition if you don’t have it yourself, especially if the effects aren’t visible. If you know someone with hearing loss, you might find yourself struggling to empathize or understand what they’re experiencing.
This disconnect between those with hearing loss and those without it can lead to a few misconceptions about the condition, so let’s look at a few of these myths and debunk them.
1. Hearing loss can be healed
We can do a lot with medicine and surgery today, so you wouldn’t be blamed for thinking that you could fix hearing loss with some pills or a simple procedure.
This is not the case however. Hearing loss is one of the conditions that humans simply don’t have a way of curing. It can be treated through use of a hearing aid or other hearing technology, but otherwise, there’s no way to completely fix your hearing. So it pays to take good care of your hearing while you can!
2. Hearing loss happens as you age
A lot of people think that hearing loss is just a fact of life that happens as you grow old. People’s backs and knees can wear down and lock up as we age, so why wouldn’t ears be subject to the same fate?
Well, they’re not. As long as you take care of your ears by limiting your sound intake and making sure you live a healthy lifestyle overall, your ears will be able to stay in top form for much longer.
3. Hearing loss is mostly genetic
It’s true that hearing loss can be more likely in some people than in others. For some people, complications in the womb can lead to nerve damage or a disformed ear that causes hearing loss.
However, genetics have a small impact on hearing loss in the grand scheme of things. Most hearing loss is a result of poor aural health, whether that’s too much sound intake, smoking and drinking, or other substance abuse. It’s very possible that someone born with perfect hearing could gain profound hearing loss over a lifetime of loud noise or poor choices.
4. Talking slowly and loudly is the best way to communicate with someone with hearing loss
When talking to someone with hearing loss, it can be easy to think that speaking slowly and loudly is the best way to get your point across. However, this is the opposite of the truth, and can only come across as patronizing, making them feel very aware of their condition. Exaggerating your words can also make it more difficult to lipread, not easier.
In reality, all you have to do is make sure you’re not mumbling, and make sure your mouth is visible, so that they can see the oh-so-important mouth shape that we often rely on to understand what’s being said.
5. Hearing aids are chunky and ugly
If you had a parent or grandparent who wore hearing aids, you might remember them as being chunky, ugly plastic shells that jutted out an inch or so from their head. They were so visible that you might think they’re not worth wearing, simply because they’re so unsightly.
However, that was then, and this is now. Hearing aids are much, much smaller nowadays. Some hearing aids designed for mild cases of hearing loss can be practically invisible, sitting within the ear canal.
Larger hearing aids that go behind the ear are also much smaller than they used to be. Depending on the model, they can also come in sleek colors or skin tones. Some companies even go out of their way to brand their hearing aids as fashion items.
6. Hearing aids are a perfect fix to hearing loss
Hearing aids are a fascinating scientific advancement. They can take someone who can’t engage with conversation or television, and allow them to reclaim their hearing, restoring the sense of normality that they lost.
However, it’s easy to think that once someone is wearing a hearing aid that their hearing loss is fixed forever. This is unfortunately not the case, hearing aids are great, but they don’t fix everything.
A lot of hearing aids use directional microphones to help their user focus in on whatever they’re looking at, as well as blocking out background noise. If you’re yelling at a hearing aid wearer from another room, even though they should hear you, they might not, due to their hearing aid’s mechanics. All you have to do is make sure you have the wearer’s attention when you’re speaking to them.
7. Hearing loss isn’t a real problem since it doesn’t lead to further health problems
A lot of people dismiss hearing loss as though you “just” lose your hearing. And while it’s obvious that no one would elect to do that, some people have the impression that if it happens, it happens.
This is an awful mistake to make though, as hearing loss can be the harbinger of loads of other life-changing, and possible life-threatening conditions. Untreated hearing loss can lead to feelings of isolation, onset dementia, stress, insomnia, and any other number of mental health conditions.
Hearing loss is a very prevalent condition, but there is definitely some misinformation going around about how to treat it or what its true effects are.
If you’re curious about hearing loss, or want to get your hearing checked out, arrange a free consultation with a hearing specialist in your area today.