Hearing affects one in eight people in the US between the ages of 12 or older in both ears based on standard examinations. Despite the prevalence of this condition in our society it’s surprising how many misconceptions there are out there around it. Part of protecting your hearing is understanding the truth about hearing loss. Here are some common myths around hearing loss and the facts which will help you receive the care and prevention you deserve:
Myth #1: My Doctor Will Tell Me If I Have Hearing Loss
If you have a family doctor, they can share a wide array of information with you about their health. They can test for general issues, however it’s up to you to tell them what you are experiencing. The problem lies in that not everyone with hearing loss is even aware of it. Hearing loss often develops gradually over years and your brain slowly rationalizes the loss. Meanwhile there may be all sorts of sounds and frequencies you are missing without realizing it. You don’t expect your doctor to clean your teeth or check your eyesight. If you are 50 years or older or you suspect you have a hearing loss it’s always a good idea to visit a hearing specialist to check for hearing issues regularly.
Myth #2: Only Seniors Struggle with Hearing Loss
One in three 65 and older have hearing loss. This number jumps to half for those 75 years and older. Age related hearing loss, technically known as presbycusis is by far the most common cause of hearing loss, due to changes in the ear as we age. However, if you are not in this age bracket yet this doesn’t mean you are free of the concern of hearing loss. Aside from aging, many factors can affect hearing such as exposure to noise, illness, impact to the head, environmental factors and some medications.
It may surprise you to find that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 16% of teenagers have reported hearing loss. This is due to exposure to loud noise at concerts, night clubs and sporting events. However, the single largest risk to younger people’s hearing is most likely due to the use of headphones connected to personal listening devices. These devices such as smartphones and Mp3 players deliver decibels high enough to damage hearing in less than 15 minuets—however many listen at for hours on end. Today noise-induced hearing loss affects more than 26 million Americans under 65!
Myth #3: Hearing in One Ear is Normal, so I Don’t Need a Hearing Aid
There is a reason we have two ears. It’s called binaural hearing and, the brain uses two ears to determine the direction of sounds around you. This is often referred to as the localization of sound and gives us a sense of our surroundings and improves our reaction time to sound. If you have hearing loss in one ear and seemingly not the other, you may think you don’t have to treat it because the other ear works fine. In most cases unilateral—hearing in one ear only—is rare. Most of the time there is a loss in both ears, but one is more pronounced. Amplifying both ears evenly improves our sense of balance and space, making it safer for us to navigate the world, with improved reaction time to sounds. This helps people feel more confident out in the world and improves a sense of independence.
Myth #4: I Can Have Perfect Hearing Again
Hearing loss in most instances is due to damage in the inner ear which is irreversible. Hearing aids are amazing devices which amplify sounds in your life in a nearly organic way based on state-of-the-art digital processing. However, they won’t restore your hearing. Still, it’s dangerous to go through life with untreated hearing loss. It can cascade into a slew of dangerous health effects such as chronic depression, social isolation, cognitive decline, and an increased chance of accidents leading to hospitalization.
Today’s hearing aids offer so many feature to improve our everyday interactions and sense of independence including: directional microphones, feedback suppression, and background noise cancellation, water resistance, telecoil for public venues, advanced listening for musicians and Bluetooth connectivity to your smartphone, TV and stereo.
To find out more truths about hearing loss, contact us today and schedule a hearing exam now!