Hearing loss is very common, but it is invisible. So understanding what it’s like or accommodating to hearing loss sufferers is challenging. Hearing loss also carries a stigma, along with the need for hearing aids. Because of this only about 1 in 5 people with hearing loss actually use hearing aids. Hearing loss sufferers wait on average 10 years before pursuing hearing aids or another intervention.
Hearing aids are often not covered by medical insurance and they are expensive, so that is one of the reasons people with hearing loss delay getting them. Another reason is the stigma of having them, that they will be obvious or ugly to others. They may also be afraid to admit they have a hearing issue at all.
It is helpful to address some common misconceptions to hearing loss so you can better understand the challenges and help with solutions.
Misconceptions About Hearing Loss
1. Only older people have hearing loss.
It’s true that hearing loss is more common in the elderly but hearing loss can affect all age groups and is caused by a variety of different factors. Hearing loss is most commonly the result of loud or frequent noise exposure. Noise exposure can come from any source: fireworks, a gunshot, lawnmowers, a loud work environment or even listening to loud music.
2. Hearing aids will make my hearing perfect immediately.
The brain and the ears work together to help you to recognize and understand the world around you. Hearing aids are a tool that can help the brain recognize and translate sound. Hearing aids are not the same as a pair of glasses: they are more complicated. Adjustment may be necessary once the right hearing aids are chosen so the best hearing experience can be achieved.
3. Talk louder to help people with hearing loss hear you.
Hearing loss isn’t just turning down the volume on a hearing. Hearing loss is more like a broken microphone with distorted sound regardless of the volume. Speaking louder usually doesn’t help.
4. Hearing loss is reversible: just take medicine!
Permanent hearing loss is irreversible by any method as of now. That’s why preventing hearing loss is so imperative. One way to catch hearing loss before you notice it yourself is to get yearly hearing exams—they are quick and easy. Set one up today by calling our office!
5. People with hearing loss are lazy or only listen when they feel like it.
People with hearing loss often really didn’t hear you! They are not trying to ignore you or be lazy. People who struggle with hearing damage also have issues with listening fatigue: for them listening takes a lot more effort than it does for others. They have to concentrate to understand sounds that are effortless for the rest of us. When listening fatigue sets in, they usually need a break.
6. Deaf people can read lips.
Have you ever tried to lip read? It’s not easy! It also takes time to get good at it. Besides that, even the best lip readers are guessing, so do your best to help them by using body language and gesturing.
7. Sign language is one universal language.
You may not know it, but there are more than 130 different sign languages! Different countries often have their own official versions of sign language as well.
8. Deaf people can’t drive cars.
Deaf people can drive! They must be much very cautious of their surroundings and pay close attention to what is happening around them using their other senses.
9. Deafness is in your genes.
Hearing loss and deafness come from a wide variety of factors, including childhood illness, accidents, loud noise exposure, congenital defects or ototoxic medication/chemicals. Deafness is rarely genetic.
10. Hearing aids are really big and obvious!
Hearing aid technology has made them a lot smaller than ever before. They can even be operated and adjusted by your other devices! Many of hearing aids are tiny and fit deep into the ear canal—they are virtually invisible! They can also be wireless, and come in all sizes, colors and shapes.
The first step to halting hearing loss and preventing further damage is to recognize your situation. Come in today for a hearing screening and formulate a strategy to train your brain to listen actively and effectively.
Diablo Hearing Services 2301 Camino Ramon, STE 106 San Ramon (925) 394-4646