Understanding hearing loss is not easy when there are so many misconceptions and myths about it and its effects on our daily lives. Separating fact from fiction can help you make the right decisions about your hearing options. Hearing Associates of Las Vegas want to help you separate myth from truth.
Let’s Look at a Few Hearing Myths
People with hearing loss are considered deaf
Truth: Hearing loss occurs across a broad spectrum. A person with hearing loss has a reduced ability to hear. The degree of hearing loss is measured by how loud a sound needs to be to be heard. There are four degrees of hearing loss:
- Mild- difficulty understanding normal conversations and soft sounds, especially with background noise
- Moderate- difficulty understanding speech; needs volume on electronics turned up
- Severe- cannot hear normal speech and can hear only some loud sounds.
- Profound- cannot hear any speech; may be able to hear only thunderous sounds.
At the higher range of hearing loss, a person cannot hear speech. This is referred to as deafness.
Hearing loss means the same thing for everyone
Truth: Hearing loss can occur in a variety of ways. Your audiologist at Hearing Associates of Las Vegas will measure your hearing using an audiogram, a graph of your hearing abilities across frequencies.
This measurement forms a shape which is the configuration of your hearing, and it will enable them to describe it. There are several ways to describe hearing loss:
- High or low frequency- Which do you hear best, high or low frequencies, or do you have trouble with both?
- Unilateral or bilateral- Do you have hearing loss in one ear (unilateral) or both ears (bilateral)?
- Symmetrical or asymmetrical- Is the degree and configuration of hearing loss the same in both ears? If so, it is considered symmetrical. If they are different for each ear, they are asymmetrical.
- Progressive or sudden hearing loss- Progressive means that it has worsened over time. Sudden means that onset happened quickly.
- Fluctuating or stable hearing loss- Fluctuating hearing loss means that sometimes it seems to improve but then worsens again. If it is stable, it does not change.
Only seniors have hearing loss
Truth: Hearing loss impacts all age groups. Twenty percent of children ages 12 to 19 had some evidence of hearing loss. Nearly 15% of adults aged 20 to 69 have some difficulty hearing.
Hearing loss is only caused by noise
Truth: There are three different types of hearing loss:
- Conductive hearing loss happens when sounds do not pass easily from the outer ear to the small bones of the middle ear. This can be caused by an ear infection, wax buildup, or a perforated eardrum.
- Sensorineural hearing loss is caused by damage to the structures of the inner ear or interference with the auditory nerve to the brain. Hearing loss caused by aging or exposure to loud noises falls into this category.
- Mixed hearing loss is a combination of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss.
Mild hearing loss is something you can ignore
Truth: Hearing loss can affect both physical and mental health.
- Dementia- According to a study on adults aged 45 to 64, untreated hearing loss is a top risk factor for dementia.
- Safety- Even mild hearing loss can affect balance and increases the risk of falls by a factor of three.
- Depression- Trying to follow conversations in social situations can be both awkward and exhausting for people with hearing loss.This can cause people to withdraw from family and friends, resulting in isolation and depression.
Hearing loss cannot be prevented
Truth: Some types of permanent hearing loss, such as those related to injury and genetics, cannot be prevented, but there are ways to reduce the chances of developing other types of hearing loss or decrease their severity. Exposure to loud noises is a major contributor to hearing loss.
To prevent or reduce noise-induced hearing loss, you can follow a few guidelines:
- Pay attention to volume on electronic devices such as televisions, radios, and smartphones.
- When using earbuds or headphones, keep the volume at a moderate level.
- At concerts and sporting events try to find seating away from sound sources, such as speakers.
- If your workplace is noisy, use sound-suppressing devices such as earplugs. These can also be used for noisy hobbies or at event venues.
If people would just speak louder, I could understand them
Truth: Hearing is more than just volume. Hearing needs clarity of sound. The inability to filter out background noise and make sense of distorted sounds contribute to hearing loss and these cannot be overcome by speaking louder.
I just have to live with age-related or noise-induced hearing loss
Truth: A trained hearing professional can evaluate your hearing and help you find a solution. New hearing technologies, such as hearing aids, can improve your quality of life.
I can delay getting hearing assistance devices until I think I really need them
Truth: The longer you wait for treatment, the less effective it is. Studies have revealed that the brain can forget sounds overtime if the auditory system is not stimulated. The sooner treatment begins, the greater its effectiveness.
Contact Hearing Associates of Las Vegas today to help you understand ways you can improve your hearing health today!