Hearing Loss Myths

There are a number of misconceptions about hearing loss, here are some of the more common ones.

My hearing is fine.

Most people assume that if there was a problem with their hearing they would know. In fact the majority of hearing loss is gradual so the change can be subtle and difficult to spot. Most doctors don’t check for hearing loss unless a problem is mentioned and are unlikely to notice initial changes within their quiet office.

Nothing can be done about it.

While most hearing loss cannot be repaired through surgery, in many cases (particularly those brought on by age or noise exposure) hearing aids can vastly improve a person’s hearing and quality of life.

People with hearing loss are fine when they’ve received treatment.

Just because someone is wearing a hearing aid does not mean they have perfect hearing, hearing aids can make a big difference but cannot fully restore hearing. Lip reading also helps but not everyone is good at it and even to those who are, many words use the same lipshapes so it can be difficult or impossible to know which word is meant.

If someone has trouble hearing, I should shout.

Volume is often not the problem when someone cannot understand you. Shouting can make things worse; with lipreading, shouting changes the shape of your face as well as the sound of your voice, making it difficult to know what you are saying. Also, for someone wearing a hearing aid shouting could actually be painful.

Instead, consider your location – if there is a lot of background noise hearing aids amplify this making it difficult to distinguish words (many conference centres and meeting rooms have induction loops to help with this) – maybe find a quieter area. Speak clearly, forming words correctly and at steady volume, you shouldn’t need to slow down, a natural speaking rhythm is best. If you are too far away that can also be a factor.

People use hearing loss to avoid conversations, she speaks to that woman all the time but says she has problems with me.

This is simply untrue, hearing loss is often concerned with certain pitches of sound so one person’s voice may be less clear to a particular person. It may also be linked to how you speak, try some of the tips above.

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