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Is hearing loss an isolated issue that doesn’t affect my overall health? Can a simple sound amplifier take the place of hearing aids? Is there nothing I can do about that ringing in my ears?
Nearly all hearing problems can be effectively managed, but misconceptions can get in the way of continuing the journey to better hearing health. We’re busting five myths with facts to help you stay on track!
Myth: Hearing impairment simply comes with aging.
Fact: “Age is the strongest predictor of hearing loss” for 20- to 69-year-olds, per the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, but did you know that about two to three of every 1,000 U.S. kids enter the world with a detectable impairment? In Canada, an estimated 4 out of 1,000 children are born with some form of hearing loss or will develop it early. Plus, noise-related hearing damage — a cumulative and preventable problem — widely affects adults and youth.
Myth: Everyone will notice that I’m wearing hearing aids.
Fact: Hearing aids have evolved to become so much more sophisticated — and much smaller — than their yesteryear counterparts, with some models nestled invisibly in or behind the ear. You may be surprised to realize how many people are discreetly wearing hearing technology, which comes in many shapes, sizes, and styles to fit diverse listening and aesthetic needs.
Myth: A personal sound amplification product, or PSAP, will take care of my hearing loss.
Fact: Wearable electronic amplifiers, designed to hear environmental sounds for those who don’t have hearing loss, only make a sound louder and are neither currently FDA-regulated nor recommended to treat actual hearing loss. Inappropriate use of PSAPs could even cause or aggravate hearing damage, so it’s best to let your hearing care professional evaluate your hearing and help you determine the best solution for your unique listening needs.
Myth: That ringing in my ears is all in my head, and nothing can be done about it.
Fact: If you perceive a ringing, buzzing, whistling, or humming in your ears that nobody else seems to hear, you may be among the 8 to 25 percent of adults worldwide with chronic tinnitus, a condition that can be managed. Tinnitus is commonly linked to health issues such as hearing loss. Treatments such as behavioral therapies and devices that may include hearing aids can make a difference in handling the problem.
Myth: Hearing loss is an isolated issue that doesn’t affect my overall health.
Fact: On the contrary, hearing loss is a chronic public-health challenge that, if left untreated, can have far-reaching consequences for physical, mental, social, and even financial wellness. For example, individuals with severe hearing loss are five times as likely to develop dementia, and untreated hearing loss can reduce household earnings by as much as $30,000.
Knowledge is power, so don’t let myths and misconceptions keep you from making moves to hear your best. For additional information about hearing, tinnitus, hearing aids, and more, or to schedule a hearing test, give us a call. We’re here to help!
- World Health Organization. Deafness and Hearing Loss. http://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/deafness-and-hearing-loss. Accessed Aug. 15, 2018.
- National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Quick Statistics About Hearing. https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/statistics/quick-statistics-hearing. Accessed Aug. 15, 2018.
- Canadian Hearing Society. Facts and Figures. https://www.chs.ca/facts-and-figures. Accessed Aug. 15, 2018.
- U.S. National Library of Medicine. The Effect of Tinnitus Retraining Therapy on Chronic Tinnitus: A Controlled Trial. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5562945/. Accessed Aug. 15, 2018.
- Johns Hopkins Medicine. Hearing Loss and Dementia Linked in Study. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/hearing_loss_and_dementia_linked_in_study. Accessed Aug. 15, 2018.
- Northern Virginia Resource Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Persons. BHI: People With Untreated Hearing Loss Lose Income Annually. https://nvrc.org/bhi-people-with-untreated-hearing-loss-lose-income-annually/. Accessed Aug. 15, 2018.