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9 Myths about Hearing Loss

Hearing loss

As it is not always obvious when people have hearing loss, and it is not often discussed,  hearing loss is often referred to as an “invisible disability,”  

Research has shown that:

  • Only 1 in 5 people who would benefit from a hearing aid actually use one.
  • People with hearing loss may wait up to 10 years before they do something about it.

The reason for this seems to be the stigma that hearing loss carries. People associate hearing loss with getting old or visualise having to wear hearing aids which they perceive as ugly. 

There are a lot of myths regarding hearing loss.

It is important to be open about hearing loss and how it can affect people’s lives, both positively and negatively. In order to breakdown the stigma of hearing loss, there are 9 myths regarding hearing loss which you should know

 

 1. Hard of hearing people cannot drive

  Hard of hearing people can most certainly drive! They simply need to be more aware and cautious of their surroundings. It’s all about visibility.

 

 

lip reading 2. Hard of hearing people are good lip readers

 Lip-reading is a skill we ALL use to follow conversations, especially in the presence of background noise. Hearing

impaired people hone this skill and need to have access to non-verbal cues i.e. facial expressions, body language

and a good view of the speakers face with good lighting!

 

 

 3. Hearing loss only affects older people

  Because most hearing impaired people have traditionally been older ....parents or grandparents, people tend to think this . 

  This is however not true at all. Some people are born with a hearing loss, others lose it later in life. Hearing loss can affect people of all ages.

 

 

 4. Hard of hearing people have selective hearing

 Due to the "strain to listen " phenomenon and concentration fatigue, people with hearing loss might not always have the

energy to focus on their hearing, especially if there’s background noise. If you feel like you're being ignored perhaps you

weren't heard.

 In this case, get the attention of the hearing impaired individual BEFORE speaking as they might not have heard you!

 

 

5. Once a hearing aid is fitted you can hear

 Unlike glasses that can instantly give you 20/20 vision, hearing aids do not instantly resolve peoples hearing problems. Hearing aids have to be

 programmed by an audiologist in order to adequately address the hearing loss. While hearing aids can make a big difference in one’s hearing ability,

 they are unable to restore hearing to be the same as someone with “normal” hearing. Ultimately, hearing aids are still only assistive devices. 

 

 6. Deafness is hereditary

 Deafness is not always hereditary. Some childhood illnesses can also result in permanent hearing loss while viral infections are able to also cause severe

permanent damage in later life. 

 

 7. If I talk louder to a person who is hard of hearing, they will hear me

 The body is like a microphone. When a microphone is broken, it sounds quite loud with plenty of distortion. If a person has a severe enough hearing   

 loss they won’t  understand you, no matter how loud you talk. That’s what hearing aids are for: to make sounds like voices sound clearer and limit   

 sounds like background noise. If you talk louder, it just sounds like you’re shouting at the hearing impaired individual.

 

8. Hearing loss can be repaired by surgery or medicine 

Although there has been some research around this topic, there is currently no “cure” for hearing loss.  For some people with severe hearing loss,

a cochlear implant surgery may help them hear better. Research is still investigating the option of repairing hearing loss using medication or non-implant

surgery.  

 9. Hearing aids are ugly and can be seen

 Hearing aids no longer mean wearing big, bulgy, beige hearing aids! Hearing technology now comes in

all shapes, sizes and colours!  Besides.....most people are happy to wear colourful bold spectacles on

their faces, why not make a statement with your hearing aid? Society at large has more respect for

                                                                                                            those who acknowledge their problem and try to address it, than those who choose to ignore it.