Hearing aids have been shown to help people think better and feel better about themselves. But did you know that only 20% of the people who could benefit from hearing aids use them? This could be because people have wrong ideas about hearing loss. Here are five common truths and lies about this common health problem.
Myth #1: Hearing loss is only a problem for older people.
This is one of the most common false beliefs about hearing loss. It is thought that about 11 million people in this country have trouble hearing. This makes hearing loss the second most common disability in the UK. Presbycusis, caused by ageing, is still the most common type of hearing loss. However, hearing loss is becoming more common in young people because they listen to loud noises (like music) more often in their free time.
Myth #2: The noise I hear daily is not hurting my ears.
Noise-related hearing loss happens over time, so you might not realise that your loud job or noisy hobby is hurting your ears until the problem worsens. But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t going on. It’s important to wear earplugs if you often use power tools, mow the lawn, or go to loud concerts or bars, so you don’t damage your hearing permanently. When listening to music with earbud headphones, you should also be careful because they are so close to the eardrum that hearing damage can happen quickly.
Truth #3: My hearing loss might be annoying, but it’s not a big deal.
If your hearing loss isn’t diagnosed or treated, it could hurt your relationships in meaningful ways. If you have trouble talking to the people you care about all the time, it makes them just as stressed and worried as it makes you. Hearing loss that isn’t treated can even lead to depression because as hearing loss worsens, people tend to pull away from their friends and become more alone.
On the medical side, if you don’t get your hearing loss treated, it can hurt your long-term brain health and make you more likely to get Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. Hearing aids have been shown to help people feel less anxious and depressed and keep their brains working well.
Myth #4: If I had trouble hearing, My GP would tell me.
People with hearing loss wait an average of 10 years before getting help, and when they do, their GPs don’t send 30–45% of them to NHS audiology services. Hearing loss happens slowly and subtly; most of the time, there are no obvious physical signs. Your friends and family may notice that you can’t hear well before you do. Since finding and treating hearing loss early is the best way to keep your hearing, brain function, and overall health in good shape, you should get a hearing exam if your family has noticed anything strange about your hearing. You may also have hearing loss if you often have to ask people to repeat themselves, if you watch TV at a volume that is too loud for others, or if you feel like everyone around you is mumbling.
Myth #5: I don’t need hearing aids because I can still hear some.
The longer you wait, the harder it is to treat hearing loss. This is because your brain gets used to hearing fewer frequencies, which makes it harder for the auditory system to recognise those frequencies again when you start using hearing aids. People who wait longer to treat their hearing loss often say it’s harder to get used to their hearing aids. Thanks to neuroplasticity, the good news is that if you wear your hearing aids all the time, your brain can “relearn” how to hear.
You can always check your hearing and learn how hearing aids can make a huge difference in your life. Our clinic specialises in hearing solutions that help you hear in noisy places so you can stay active and enjoy your favourite social activities. Contact us right away to set up your free consultation!