Hearing loss is common throughout Utah and the rest of the country. Approximately 48 million Americans experience hearing impairment to a certain degree; that translates to one in five people in American Fork. Even those with perfect hearing probably have some misconceptions about hearing loss. Separating myth from reality will enable you to spot the signs of hearing loss and seek help if needed.
Five Common Myths About Hearing Loss
Hearing loss is the third most common physical health complaint in the U.S.; only arthritis and heart disease rank higher. Yet, there is more confusion about hearing loss than almost any other condition. Let’s break down some of the most common myths.
Hearing loss only affects senior citizens.
While it’s true that age-related hearing loss is common, only about one-third of people with a hearing impairment are aged 65 or older. Hearing loss affects individuals of all ages—even teens and young adults. Noise, disease, trauma and other factors all cause damage to the hair cells in the cochlea that are responsible for hearing.
Hearing loss is just an annoyance.
Nobody would argue that hearing loss isn’t a nuisance, but it’s more than just inconvenient—it can be downright dangerous. Untreated hearing loss has been linked to a number of physical, social and psychological side effects including depression, isolation, memory loss, diabetes, kidney disease and an increased risk of falling. In fact, people with hearing loss are 32 percent more likely to end up hospitalized. And hearing-impaired individuals in the workplace earn on average $12,000 less every year than their normal-hearing coworkers.
Hearing loss can’t be prevented.
There are only two true inevitabilities in life—death and taxes (and plenty of people have tried to cheat both). Taking steps to protect your hearing when you’re younger can pay off once you reach your golden years. Noise is the most common cause of hearing loss; by limiting your exposure to loud sounds and wearing earplugs when participating in noisy activities are effective ways to prevent long-term hearing damage. Know when to bring along earplugs (e.g., when you are attending concerts or sporting events, riding motorcycles or jet skis, using power tools) and adopt the “60/60 rule” when listening to music through earbuds: keep the volume at no more than 60 percent of maximum and take a break every 60 minutes in order to give your ears a rest.
Hearing loss will get better without intervention.
This, folks, is known as denial. It’s easy to believe when you first start noticing signs that they will be temporary, but the truth is, once the sensory cells in the cochlea are damaged, they will not grow back and there isn’t a magic pill or surgical procedure that will help. Hearing loss is a progressive disease that will only worsen over time. The best way for most people to regain their communication abilities is by wearing hearing aids.
Hearing aids are large and don’t work very well.
Modern hearing aids are small and comfortable and come with a wide variety of features that enhance sound and improve your ability to communicate. Digital technology such as Bluetooth® enables you to stream directly with other devices, such as smartphones and televisions, and manufacturers are even starting to use AI to make “smart” hearing aids that will make your life even easier and more convenient. Manufacturers have pretty much eliminated issues that plagued hearing aid users in the past, such as whistling and feedback. You’ll be surprised by just how well your hearing aids will actually help you hear!
With the number of hearing loss patients growing worldwide, it’s important to understand the truth about this common health condition. If you have more questions regarding hearing loss or hearing aids, contact a hearing and balance specialist in American Fork.