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Hearing loss is an incredibly common condition, but many misconceptions remain about the nature and cause of that loss. Although you might have a sense of the general dimensions of hearing loss, you might be relying on some faulty information or assumptions about the nature of the condition. Today we will explore some of the facts about hearing loss alongside commonly held fictions.
Fact: Hearing loss is very common.
With an estimated 20% of Americans experiencing some form of hearing loss, roughly 48 million people, it is likely you know many people with some form of the condition. Hearing loss takes many forms, including all demographics of the population. Many estimates show that a related condition—tinnitus, commonly known as ringing in the ears—affects even more of the population than hearing loss, and the two are not mutually exclusive. With so many people experiencing these hearing conditions, it is important to get more information about how and why they occur.
Fiction: Hearing loss is limited to older people.
Although it is true that the rates of hearing loss are the greatest among older people, they are by no means the only people to experience it. Hearing loss is actually on the rise among younger people in comparison with past generations of young people. Many speculate that exposure to leisure noise is the reason for this uptick in rates of hearing loss, so we need to disabuse ourselves of the commonly held notion that hearing loss is a problem for older people.
Fact: Accommodating people with hearing loss can help them communicate.
This fact is coupled with a troubling fiction. Although it is true that there are steps you can take to make communication easier and more effective for those with hearing loss, these accommodations are not an ultimate solution. Speaking within eyeshot in the same room as a person with hearing loss does help them understand what you are saying, but treatment in the form of hearing aids is often the best way to create a durable solution for their ongoing needs.
Fiction: You can make do with the hearing ability you still have.
This fiction comes along with a glimmer of fact. Indeed, people do find ways to satisfy the remaining hearing ability they do have, and the ability of the mind to fill in the gaps in missing hearing ability is remarkable. This mirage of truth should not let your hearing loss go untreated. The domino rally of negative health effects that come from hearing loss extend far beyond the context of a conversation.
Correlations have been found between untreated hearing loss and such disparate conditions as dementia, cognitive decline, accidental injury, depression, social isolation, and even physical conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. It is not as simple as hearing loss causing these other conditions, but these relationships should attune you to the necessity of treatment for hearing loss. Though you might feel like you can get by in conversations just fine, your health and general wellness rely on the ability to communicate effectively and clearly.
Fact: Hearing aids are not used by the majority of people who need them.
Recent research has determined that only about 20 percent of people who could benefit from hearing aids actually use them. These devices are remarkably effective at improving conversational effectiveness and overall quality of life.
When hearing aids are used effectively, exploratory research has even shown that they may help reduce rates of dementia and the speed of cognitive decline. Beyond these practical effects, the feeling of wellbeing that people experience tends to be life changing.
Whereas those with untreated hearing loss tend to recede from social events and connections with their loved ones, those who use hearing aids find that they are able to engage with the world with a renewed feeling of connection and independence.
By freely having conversations with loved ones once again, mental health often improves, as does the sense of control over one’s own life. With these many benefits in store, it is remarkable that so many people find excuses to avoid treatment for their hearing loss.
Don’t let yourself or those you love be added to the ranks of those who could benefit from hearing aids yet don’t take the plunge! Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a comprehensive hearing exam and consultation.