Common Misconceptions People Have About Hearing Loss - Attune
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Common Misconceptions People Have About Hearing Loss

Common Misconceptions People

Although hearing loss affects one in six Australians, misconceptions about hearing loss are still prevalent. Even amongst those with a diagnosed hearing impairment, wrong ideas stubbornly persist. 

It’s easy to understand why. Like many other disabilities, hearing loss is, more often than not, invisible. So much so that even those who suffer from it aren’t always aware of it. 

Hearing loss refers to the total or partial inability to hear sounds. There are different types and degrees of hearing loss, ranging from mild to severe. Hearing loss can be temporary or permanent and occur in one or both ears. 

A progressive disability, hearing loss can develop over many years and decades. The only path to the reliable diagnosis and management of any hearing loss begins with a visit to a trusted audiologist and hearing healthcare provider

A comprehensive hearing assessment begins with a free 15-minute hearing screening. If there’s any reason for concern, your audiologist may recommend further tests to determine the type and degree of any hearing loss and its cause and appropriate forms of treatment and management.  

To help you initiate a conversation, we’ve listed some misconceptions about hearing loss our audiologists hear most frequently. 

Top 5 Hearing Loss Misconceptions

The Top 5 Hearing Loss Misconceptions

1. Hearing loss at an old age is inevitable 

While this statement is false, it is understandable where this notion originated. 

Hearing loss is commonly associated with ageing, with one in three adults over age 65 experiencing a form of hearing loss.

It is also true that three to six Australian children in every thousand have some degree of hearing loss. Two or three of them will be born deaf. 

So while hearing loss does not just affect older people, it appears to become more common as we advance in age. 

The reason for this is simple: Older people have had decades of exposure to noise and other risk factors. 

These factors add up until hearing loss becomes impossible to ignore. By then, it is more often than not accompanied by related health issues.  

But there’s good news: A lifetime of abusing your hearing is avoidable! 

It can be as simple as being more mindful of loud noise, wearing ear protection in noisy environments and steering clear of cotton swabs and ototoxic medications.

2. You will need to learn sign language to communicate 

Since no one hearing loss is like the other, people who have a hearing impairment will experience different levels of impact on their ability to communicate. 

Signing, much like lip reading, plays a vital part in the daily life of people with severe hearing loss. As such, sign language is used primarily by the deaf and hard of hearing and their family members. 

Individuals who are physically unable to speak or struggle to employ spoken words due to a disability or condition may also draw on sign language to facilitate communication. 

It is estimated that only about 20,000 people use Auslan, the Australian sign language, to communicate every day.  

It becomes apparent that many people with hearing loss do not rely on sign language for communication. 

Increasing volume

3. Increasing volume will make up for your hearing loss 

Those who live in denial of their hearing loss might say that they don’t need a hearing aid because they can just turn up the TV volume.

And while there is a grain of truth in that, not all hearing loss has to do with sound amplification. 

In some cases, a person with hearing loss might find high-pitched sounds harder to hear than low-pitched ones (or vice versa), regardless of the loudness of the sound. 

Turning up the TV volume or asking others to speak louder might provide temporary relief but can worsen things in the long run. 

There comes the point when increasing the volume simply stops working. Worse still, the increased volume can quickly deteriorate the remaining hearing. 

The maximum volume level for most radios, stereos and TVs is 105–110 dBA. Prolonged or repeated exposure to sounds at or above 85 dBA is known to cause noise-related hearing loss. 

The solution most likely to provide permanent relief is a well-fitted hearing aid. An induction loop that transmits sounds directly from a microphone to the ears may also be helpful in public spaces.

4. Hearing aids will restore your hearing

Your hearing will not go back to ‘normal’ once you wear a hearing aid. 

Only five per cent of adults with hearing loss can cure their impairment through surgical intervention or other medical treatments. Once your hearing has been damaged, it is likely never returning to what it used to be. 

While hearing aids cannot cure your hearing loss, they can help you hear and communicate better and prevent any further decline in your ability to hear, limiting further damage caused by the hearing loss.

5. People with hearing loss can’t be successful

Last but not least, many people diagnosed with hearing loss believe receiving the news marks the beginning of the end of their careers and other aspirations. 

We think that this could not be further from the truth. Whether one is born with a hearing loss or acquires it later in life, a limited ability to hear has nothing to do with one’s intelligence or worthiness. 

With the right support and appropriate treatment, you can improve your quality of life and pursue your dreams. 

Don’t let these and other misconceptions about hearing loss deter you from seeking the care you deserve. Contact a hearing specialist in your area and begin your journey to better hearing health today. 

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