Though hearing loss is one of the most pervasive health issues that people experience today, it still remains under-recognized as a common medical condition. Nearly 1 in 6 people have some degree of impaired hearing, impacting over 48 million people. But hearing loss remains underdiagnosed – it takes an average of 7 years for people to address symptoms. Additionally, the National Institute on Deafness & Other Communication Disorders estimates that one one third of people who could benefit from treatment, actually receive it. Contributing to this delay in treatment are the numerous misconceptions or misinformation people have about hearing loss. Addressing these misconceptions helps destigmatize and raise awareness about hearing loss and the importance of treatment.
Fiction: Hearing loss is caused by aging so it only impacts older adults.
Fact: There are several factors that can cause hearing loss which impact people of all ages.
Aging is only one factor that contributes to hearing loss. Other factors include exposure to loud noise, head injuries, and existing medical conditions which increase the risk of developing hearing loss. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that over 1 billion young adults and children (12-35) are at increased risk of hearing loss due to loud noise exposure. Listening to audio on electronic devices has become part of daily life. This is also a common source of loud noise exposure which can cause noise induced hearing loss which occurs when hair cells in the inner ear are damaged which are irreparable.
Fiction: I can still hear so my hearing health is fine.
Fact: Hearing loss exists on a spectrum and being able to hear, though not as well, is an early sign.
Hearing loss ranges from mild to more profound as do the symptoms. Being able to still hear but struggling to always keep up during conversations is an early sign of hearing loss. You may be able to still hear but maybe you miss a few words, it’s challenging to hear in environments with background noise (like restaurants), and you find yourself asking others to repeat themselves. If these symptoms remain unaddressed, this can worsen impairment and the impact of hearing loss. It is important to intervene as early as possible so that the hearing you do have is cared for and not at risk of declining.
Fiction: Hearing loss isn’t life-threatening so I can deal with it later.
Fact: Hearing loss strains communication which has significant effects on daily life including increasing health risks.
Hearing loss doesn’t just affect one’s hearing, it can take a toll on health and wellness in several ways. Impaired hearing produces a range of symptoms that strains communication which is integral to daily life. This affects relationships, work performance, and social engagement. Hearing loss that remains untreated often leads to social withdrawal, contributing to the development of depressive symptoms. In addition to depression, hearing loss increases the risk of developing other health issues like cognitive decline and accidental injuries. This highlights the importance of treating symptoms as early as possible.
Fiction: People can just talk louder so I can hear.
Fact: This doesn’t actually help, increasing volume can further distort sound.
Using unsustainable and ineffective strategies like asking others to speak louder can actually strain hearing. Increasing volume can further distort sound and speech can be muffled, making it harder to identify and hear individual words. Also, this doesn’t offer a solution for hearing loss but contributes to delaying treatment.
Fiction: Hearing aids are bulky and cumbersome.
Fact: Today’s hearing aids are sleeker and more wearable than ever before.
Like most electronic devices today, hearing aids have benefited tremendously from advancements in technology. Hearing aids are savvy and innovative devices that transform hearing health. There is a range of styles, features, colors, and options to not only meet hearing needs but also aesthetic preferences. Hearing aids also vary in size and there are devices that are completely invisible to others. Today’s hearing aid devices are wearable technology like a smartwatch or headphones.
Contact us today to learn more about hearing loss. We can help you prioritize your hair health by scheduling an appointment for a hearing consultation. Treating hearing loss offers countless benefits that transform your health and wellness.