Hearing loss is common, affecting approximately 48 million people across the U.S. But despite this, only about one in five people who could benefit from hearing aids actually wears them, and those who do wait an average of nine years from the time they first start showing symptoms. The reason for this is there are a lot of myths and misconceptions surrounding hearing loss and hearing aids. We review some of these myths and the truths behind them below.
MYTH: Hearing Loss Only Affects Older People
TRUTH: It’s true that older people are more likely to experience hearing loss, but that doesn’t mean young people don’t experience it, too. In fact, an estimated two to three of every 1,000 babies born in the U.S. and one in five American teenagers experience some degree of hearing loss.
MYTH: Only People with Severe Hearing Loss Need Hearing Aids
TRUTH: Even people with mild hearing loss can benefit from wearing hearing aids. It’s common for people with milder forms of hearing loss to claim they can hear, but not understand, when people are talking to them. This happens because most people have trouble hearing high-frequency sounds like consonants first. Hearing aids can make it easier to discern between these sounds and follow along with what is being said.
MYTH: Hearing Aids ‘Cure’ Hearing Loss
TRUTH: In most cases, there is no cure for hearing loss. Hearing aids work by amplifying sounds to a level the ears can detect; they cannot reverse the effects of hearing loss.
MYTH: Wearing Hearing Aids Is Like Wearing Glasses
TRUTH: If you’ve gone years without being able to see well, you can probably put on a pair of glasses and see perfectly right away. This isn’t the case with hearing aids, as it takes time for your brain to re-learn how to process sounds you’ve been missing. It’s common to feel overwhelmed by all the sounds around you the first time you put on a pair of hearing aids. You can ask your friends at Portland Senior Recreation what this process is like so you can have realistic expectations about the rehabilitation process.
MYTH: Hearing Loss Has No Long-Term Effects
TRUTH: Studies have shown that if left untreated, hearing loss can have a major impact on your health. In fact, it’s been linked to anxiety, depression, injurious falls and even dementia. Fortunately, research shows that wearing hearing aids can delay a diagnosis of these conditions.
To learn more or to schedule an appointment, call PDX ENT today.