Facts & Fiction About Hearing Loss

Facts & Fiction About Hearing Loss

Whether it is outdated stereotypes or simply uninformed assumptions, misconceptions about hearing loss are common. This is understandable considering that unlike some other disabilities, you cannot recognize if someone suffers from hearing loss just by looking at them. Let’s consider some of the most common assumptions about hearing loss and see how the facts line up.

FICTION: Hearing Loss is Rare

FACT: Hearing loss affects an estimated 13% of the US population, more than cancer or diabetes. This percentage is steadily increasing as the average age of the population grows older. With proper treatment, hearing loss should not define anyone anymore than the color of their eyes or their show size. And it is especially important that everyone understands that it is nothing to be ashamed of. 

FICTION: Most People who Suffer Hearing Loss are Born That Way

FACT: Between two and three out of every 1,000 babies born in the US are born with congenital hearing loss. This ratio increases steadily until a full half of those 75 and older suffer from it. Unfortunately, it is estimated that two-thirds of those who suffer from it endure doing so without seeking any treatment.

FICTION: You Either Suffer from Hearing Loss or You Don’t

FACT: Hearing loss describes a vast variety of conditions, from those who endure mild difficulty hearing to those who are completely deaf. Same as every able-bodied person’s particular circumstances are different, everyone with disabling hearing loss has a condition unique to them. Their modes of communication will differ as will their means of treatment.  

FICTION: Sign Language and Reading Lips

FACTS: The vast majority of those who suffer from hearing loss do not use sign language. In fact, it is estimated that within the US only 1% of the deaf and hard of hearing communicate with sign language. Reading lips however, also known as speech reading, is much more common than many people may assume. It is an aid to bolster and confirm communication for people who have some degree of hearing with which to compare the visual clues that reading lips supplies. 

FICTION: Talking Louder will Help Someone with Hearing Loss Understand You

FACT: More volume will indeed help, but clear articulation is equally important. For most people who suffer from it, hearing loss is not just about diminished volume, but muddled clarity. Just as helpful as increasing volume, communicating with someone deaf or hard of hearing can be a great prompt to inspire you to freshen up on your basic decency towards others. Being patient and being sure to face someone directly will help immensely. A little extra effort in controlling your environment will go a long way, minimizing background noise whenever possible. And remember that communication with someone deaf or hard of hearing is only frustrating when you expect everyone to conform to your idea of socialized norms. Meet them halfway and everyone will relax.   

FICTION: Hearing Aids Restore Normal Hearing 

FACT: Hearing Aids and cochlear implants make a tremendous difference, increasing someone’s ability to communicate and consequentially, feeling more assured and relaxed and connected. But no hearing aid or implant can restore hearing to “normal”. It is not the same as how eyeglasses improve vision troubles. Clarity is not just instantly restored. Instead clarity is slightly enhanced by adjusting the volumes of different sonic frequencies. The difference this treatment can make in one’s life cannot be overstated, but it is different than before. However close your hearing may get to your idea of how you heard before, depending on many personal factors, it will never achieve “normal.”

FICTION: Hearing Loss is a sign of other conditions. 

FACT: In fact, the opposite is true. Left untreated, disabling hearing loss can be the root problem that causes a myriad of troubles. Psychologically and emotionally, untreated hearing loss often leads to social withdrawal, which causes loneliness and feelings of isolation, depression. And compounded, these factors can frequently cause cognitive decline. In social and economic terms, untreated hearing loss creates disadvantages in school and the workplace which simply are not necessary to endure, given the available treatments. 

FICTION: Hearing Loss is an Irritation that can Be Ignored

FACT: There is no reason to suffer the many physical, emotional, social, and professional consequences of untreated hearing loss. Things are hard enough. Take this first small step today. Make an appointment with one of our specialists and guarantee that you are living your life to its fullest potential.