------------------------ Common Myths about Hearing Loss ------------------------

MYTH: IF I HAD A HEARING LOSS, I WOULD KNOW ABOUT IT.

It is often difficult to notice that you are developing a hearing loss, as it will generally happen gradually. Instead of alerting you to the fact that your hearing is deteriorating, your body will adapt to being able to hear less well. It is important to be on alert for hearing loss symptoms such as frequently having to ask people to repeat themselves, or needing to turn the volume on the television up higher than usual.

MYTH: MY FAMILY DOCTOR WOULD HAVE TOLD ME IF I HAD A HEARING LOSS.

Screening for hearing loss is not a part of most standard check-ups. Furthermore, specific training and equipment are required to conduct a true hearing test. The simpler exercises a family doctor might conduct will not necessarily be effective at determining a hearing loss within the quiet environment of the doctor’s office.

Myth: Hearing loss is caused only by old age, and is a sign of senility.

Hearing loss can be caused by aging, but this is not always the case – in fact, more than half of people with a hearing loss are under 65 years of age. There is a variety of other common causes of hearing loss, such as work involving noise –carpentry or construction, for example- and the increasing use of MP3 players such as iPods among all age groups. Even simple hereditary factors or childhood illnesses can cause hearing loss.

Hearing loss is in no way connected with senility, however an untreated hearing impairment can manifest itself in symptoms such as a lack of comprehension of conversation, and the resulting inability to communicate.  Such symptoms are easily treatable with the use of hearing aids, and so do not have to become a permanent part of your aging process.

Myth: Very few people suffer from a true hearing loss – it’s unlikely that I’m one of them.

This simply isn’t true. Hearing loss is one of the fastest growing conditions facing Canadians today, affecting approximately 800 million people worldwide. The vast majority of these hearing impairments are treatable with the use of hearing aids. Hearing loss is actually a very common difficulty, but proactive recognition and acceptance of its presence will enable you to quickly and effectively address it.

Myth: My level of hearing loss is normal for my age.

Although hearing loss may be seen as a frequent symptom of aging, this is no reason to fail to seek treatment. Why suffer the social isolation that will accompany a growing inability to hear and communicate if there is a solution? Hearing loss can be emotionally difficult, but this is an avoidable and unnecessary aspect of aging. We believe that no one should needlessly suffer the effects of a hearing loss, and we aim to provide the solution that best suits your level of hearing impairment and your lifestyle.

Myth: If conversation is loud enough, I will be able to hear it.

This is inaccurate for a few reasons. The first is that a person with hearing loss will have more difficulty hearing higher pitches than quieter sounds. Within a sentence, the pitch of each syllable will vary, meaning that someone with a hearing loss would hear parts of the sentence, but would miss others. This presents a serious barrier to comprehension. Additionally, due to a condition called recruitment –which will commonly accompany hearing loss–hearing loud sounds can be physically uncomfortable. This is why hearing aids aim to amplify selectively, picking up higher pitches and quieter sounds, and working differently in each unique kind of hearing situation. This selective amplification, an automatic function in most of today’s hearing aids, is not something that can be achieved simply by asking people to speak more loudly.

Myth: My hearing loss can be cured by minor surgery.

This actually only applies to 5-10% of cases of hearing loss in adults. Often, conductive hearing impairments can be cured with surgery – that is, hearing loss due to factors such as excessive earwax or perforation of the eardrum, issues occurring in the outer or middle ear. Sensorineural hearing loss is much more common in adults; this kind of hearing loss is due to problems in the inner ear, issues like head injuries, as well as hereditary factors and age. Sensorineural hearing loss cannot be cured by surgery, but is very effectively treated with the use of hearing aids.

Myth: Nothing effective can be done for most kinds of hearing loss.

This is no longer the case. The advanced nature of hearing technology today has made it so that 90-95% of hearing losses can be effectively addressed with hearing aids. Hearing aids have been developed to automatically adjust to specific situations, to cut down on sound feedback, and to connect wirelessly with other forms of technology such as the telephone. Hearing innovations and technologies now also extend into other aspects of your lifestyle, making it even easier for those with hearing loss to once again enjoy things like radio, television, and time with family and friends in noisy environments like restaurants. Unlike the situation thirty years ago, hearing loss today can be very effectively addressed with the use of hearing aids, Assistive Listening Devices, and accessories developed to work in conjunction with these instruments.