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Myths about Hearing loss and Hearing solutions

I'll just have some minor surgery like my friend did, and then my hearing will be okay.

Many people know someone whose hearing improved after medical or surgical treatment. It's true that some types of hearing loss can be successfully treated. With adults, unfortunately, this only applies to 5-10% of cases.

I have one ear that's down a little, but the other one's okay.

Everything is relative. Nearly all patients who believe that they have one "good" ear actually have two "bad" ears. When one ear is slightly better than the other, we learn to favor that ear for the telephone, group conversations, and so forth. It can give the illusion that "the better ear" is normal when it isn't. Most types of hearing loss affect both ears fairly equally, and about 90% of patients are in need of hearing aids for both ears.

If I had a hearing loss, my family doctor would have told me.

Since most people with hearing impairments hear well in a quiet environment like a doctor's office, it can be virtually impossible for your doctor to recognize the extent of your problem. Without special training, and an understanding of the nature of hearing loss, it may be difficult for your doctor to even realize that you have a hearing problem.

My hearing loss is normal for my age.

Isn't this a strange way to look at things? But, do you realize that well-meaning doctors tell this to their patients every day? It happens to be "normal" for overweight people to have high blood pressure. That doesn't mean they should not receive treatment for the problem.

Your hearing loss cannot be helped.

In the past, many people with hearing loss in one ear, with a high frequency hearing loss, or with nerve damage have all been told they cannot be helped. This might have been true many years ago, but with modern advances in technology, nearly 95% of people with a sensorineural hearing loss can be helped with hearing aids.

The consequences of hiding hearing loss are better than wearing hearing aids.

What price are you paying for vanity? Untreated hearing loss is far more noticeable than hearing aids. If you miss a punch line to a joke, or respond inappropriately in conversation, people may have concerns about your mental acuity, your attention span or your ability to communicate effectively. The personal consequences of vanity can be life altering. At a simplistic level, untreated hearing loss means giving up some of the pleasant sounds you used to enjoy. At a deeper level, vanity could severely reduce the quality of your life.

Only people with serious hearing loss need hearing aids.

The need for hearing amplification is dependent on your lifestyle, your need for refined hearing, and the degree of your hearing loss. If you are a lawyer, teacher or a group psychotherapist, where very refined hearing is necessary to discern the nuances of human communication, then even a mild hearing loss can be intolerable. If you live in a rural area by yourself and seldom socialize, then perhaps you are someone who is tolerant of even moderate hearing losses.

Hearing aids will make me look "older" and "handicapped."

Looking older is clearly more affected by almost all other factors besides hearing aids. It is not the hearing aids that make one look older, it is what one may believe they imply. If hearing aids help you function like a normal hearing person, for all intents and purposes, the stigma is removed. Hearing aid manufacturers are well aware that cosmetics is an issue to many people, and that's why today we have hearing aids that are very discreet. But more importantly, keep in mind that "an untreated hearing loss is more obvious than a hearing aid." Smiling and nodding your head when you don't understand what's being said, makes your condition more apparent than the largest hearing aid.

Hearing aids will make everything sound too loud.

Hearing aids are amplifiers. At one time, the way that hearing aids were designed, it was necessary to turn up the power in order to hear soft speech (or other soft sounds). Then, normal conversation indeed would have been too loud. With today's hearing aids, however, the circuit works automatically, only providing the amount of amplification needed based on the input level. In fact, many hearing aids today don't have a volume control.