Common myths about hearing loss


Hearing problems are rare
Hearing disorders only affect the elderly
When people don't hear well, it probably means they are getting senile
If I did have a hearing impairment, I'd certainly know about it
Living with hearing loss is not a big deal
Your hearing loss cannot be helped
If I had a hearing loss, my family doctor would have told me
Hearing aids are obvious and unattractive
Hearing aids do not work
If you shout loud enough, people with a hearing loss will understand you better
When someone is hearing impaired, that just means that sounds are not loud enough.
Hearing aids correct hearing 100%.
It's too expensive to get a really good hearing aid


Myth 1: Hearing problems are rare

Well over 10% of the population lives with a hearing loss. Unfortunately, many people are reluctant to confront the challenge head-on. There is no shame in wearing a hearing aid. It's a shame not to stay in touch with the people around you.

Myth 2: Hearing disorders only affect the elderly

More than half the people with reduced hearing are under the age of 65. It can affect people of all ages.

Myth 3: When people don't hear well, it probably means they are getting senile

Hearing losses have a variety of causes, but have nothing to do with senility. However, a failure to seek help can lead to communication problems, confusion and social isolation, which could in some cases be mistaken for symptoms of dementia.

Myth 4: If I did have a hearing impairment, I'd certainly know about it

The truth is, hearing loss happens gradually and the signs are subtle at first. Our own built-in defences and ability to adapt to seemingly subtle changes such as progressive hearing loss make it difficult to accurately self-diagnose. A simple hearing test can help you gain insight, while professional screening can provide a more definitive answer.

Myth 5: Living with hearing loss is not a big deal

There are many psychological effects associated with hearing loss, including frustration, withdrawal, and depression. Trouble communicating with others creates a strain on relationships and a loss of esteem. It's far better to deal with hearing loss than to pretend it isn't happening, or to ignore the effect it is having on those around you. Friends or loved ones may in fact be relieved to discover that the difficulty they may have been experiencing in communicating with you is as a result of a medical condition

Myth 6: Your hearing loss cannot be helped

30 or 40 years ago, that was probably true. Today, 90% of hearing loss - the kind that's brought on by age or exposure to noise - is very responsive to treatment in the form of technically advanced hearing instruments.

Myth 7: If I had a hearing loss, my family doctor would have told me

Very few GPs electronically measure your hearing; therefore, it is virtually impossible for most doctors to recognise your hearing loss, unless it is very advanced.

Myth 8: Hearing aids are obvious and unattractive

While it's true that hearing instruments don't enjoy the fashion status of a pair of glasses, new technology has made these devices remarkably discreet. Many people can wear instruments that are either tucked well inside the ear or almost completely hidden in the ear canal. Behind-the-ear styles are often disguised by hairstyles.

Myth 9: Hearing aids do not work

Treatment is now possible for hearing losses, which may have been difficult to treat just a few years ago. Modern hearing aids can help the vast majority of people experiencing hearing loss.

Myth 10: If you shout loud enough, people with a hearing loss will understand you better

Wrong. In fact, loud conversation may be painful. Loudness will not make distorted sound any clearer, and may make the situation worse.

Myth 11: When someone is hearing impaired, that just means that sounds are not loud enough

That's only part of it. Perhaps that person may have trouble hearing in crowds or in group conversations. Perhaps they hear but don't always understand what's being said. Words may seem to be mumbled or words just run together. These are but a few of the symptoms.

Myth 12: Hearing aids correct hearing 100%

Wrong. While new hearing aids can compensate for many losses, they cannot restore normal hearing. They can, however, help you get the most listening enjoyment from the hearing you still have.

Myth 13: It's too expensive to get a really good hearing aid

The very best hearing aids are well within the reach of most people. If you are a medical card holder, you're entitled to a free hearing aid. There is also financial assistance available through social welfare grants and income tax rebates. Some private health insurance schemes also cover the partial cost of a hearing aid.

 


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