Many people in the United States have hearing problems, yet there are a lot of myths about hearing loss, and oftentimes, individuals have different ideas about what it is and how to deal with it. At Beltone Tristate, we don’t just want to help our patients get better; we also want to teach them how to take care of their hearing. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of common myths about hearing loss to help you understand it better with facts.
Who suffers most from hearing loss?
However, it’s important to note that hearing loss is not exclusive to older adults. People of all ages can be affected by hearing loss due to various factors. Sometimes, it may be congenital, meaning a person is born with hearing difficulties. Other factors that can contribute to hearing loss include:
- Exposure to loud noises
- Ear infections
- Certain medications
- Underlying medical conditions
Occupational and recreational noise exposure can also result in hearing damage, which affects people of all ages. This significantly affects those in noisy workplaces or who engage in activities like listening to loud music without proper protection.
7 Myths and Facts About Hearing Loss
It’s important to recognize and debunk myths that may affect anyone with hearing loss. Here are seven common misconceptions and fact-based insights you should consider.
Myth: You can’t prevent hearing loss at an old age.
FACT: While age-related hearing loss is a standard part of getting older, it’s known that three out of every 1,000 babies are born with a level of hearing loss. While hearing loss is not reversible, it is treatable, and protective measures can help slow the progression of hearing loss once it’s begun. Numerous preventive measures and interventions can help preserve and protect hearing, even in old age. These include:
- Getting regular check-ups
- Taking protective measures
- Maintaining a healthy lifestyle
- Avoiding harmful substances
- Quitting smoking
- Using hearing protection
Myth: Earwax can cause permanent hearing loss.
FACT: Earwax, or cerumen, is a natural substance our ears produce to keep them lubricated and protected. While an excess buildup of earwax can lead to temporary hearing impairment or discomfort, it isn’t the underlying cause of hearing loss. The misconception may stem from the notion that if earwax is not promptly addressed, it can contribute to hearing problems.
However, the critical point is that the development of hearing loss can be slowed down to lessen the effects. Once the excess earwax is safely removed, hearing typically returns to normal. Earwax-related hearing issues are temporary and easily treatable through safe and appropriate earwax-cleaning methods.
Myth: Hearing aids will restore my hearing back to normal.
FACT: While hearing aids are a great way to enhance hearing and improve the quality of life for many individuals, it’s essential to remember that this tool won’t return your hearing to normal. Their effectiveness depends on various factors, including:
- Severity and type of hearing loss
- A person’s auditory system
- Ability to adapt to amplified sounds
Hearing aids are designed to amplify sounds and make them clearer, but they aren’t meant to compensate for all aspects of hearing loss completely. Nonetheless, they provide significant benefits to those using them and improve their overall well-being.
Myth: Only very loud noises cause hearing loss.
FACT: Loud noises do damage hair cells, membranes, nerves, and other parts of your ear, causing temporary or permanent hearing loss. Yet, it isn’t the only way an adult can lose hearing. Apart from hereditary conditions that cause hearing impairment, causes may include the following:
- Otosclerosis. Disease in the middle ear makes it difficult for the tiny bones in the middle ear to move in response to noise. This may be treated with surgery.
- Ménière’s disease. A problem in the inner ear that has unknown causes and often affects people from 30 to 50 years old. Hearing will come and go, but eventually, it will become a permanent loss.
- Autoimmune inner ear disease. An autoimmune disorder where your body begins to attack itself and happens quickly. Medical treatment may help keep hearing loss at a minimum.
- Acoustic neuroma. A tumor that causes a full sensation in your ear along with ringing (tinnitus).
- Physical head injury. As a result, individuals may have a traumatic brain injury, a hole in the eardrum, or damage to the middle ear.
- Specific medications. Taking too much of certain drugs can cause hearing loss. These include aminoglycoside, lots of aspirin, loop diuretics, and some chemotherapy drugs.
Myth: Hearing loss only affects my hearing.
FACT: Since everything in our bodies is interconnected, it would be difficult for hearing loss not to affect anything else in your body. A major effect hearing loss has on people includes shifts in our brains. The reason is that our ears begin to malfunction, and the brain receives signals that are incomplete or weak. Thus making it work even harder, leading to fatigue and exhaustion. As hearing loss gradually declines, people may experience cognitive decline and various health disorders.
Myth: Mild hearing loss shouldn’t be too much of a concern.
FACT: Anyone experiencing any hearing loss symptom should never leave it be. Especially for children, mild hearing loss may cause delays in speech and language development, affecting their school and social life. As for adults, beginning signs of untreated hearing loss can increase your chances of suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s compared to others with normal hearing. Individuals may also fall into depression since communicating with others around them becomes a daily challenge.
Myth: I only need to wear one hearing aid if my hearing is bad in just one ear.
FACT: Although this may be true for some people, wearing only one hearing aid may have disadvantages. Consider the following reasons when deciding whether or not to wear one or two hearing aids:
- You get better sound localization. This means you’ll be able to know where precisely the speaker and sound are coming from.
- You can hear better with background noise. Our brain uses both ears to differentiate target speech and background noise. Also, many hearing aids have functions that reduce background noise automatically.
- You’ll reduce the hearing imbalance. When you crank up the volume of your TV and have both hearing aids on, you’ll avoid a tiresome and potentially damaging listening experience.
Debunking myths is easy, and so is checking up on your ears! At Beltone Tristate, we believe that everyone deserves to live the best life possible. Our team of hearing professionals will give you the care, services, and treatment recommendations you need to lead a more fulfilling way of life.
Book your complimentary hearing test today and continue living your best life!