It is estimated that over 15% of American adults age 18 years or older have some trouble hearing. According to the National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders, 1 out of 10 adults over the age of 50 have some sort of hearing loss (see common forms of hearing loss). Although hearing loss is becoming more common, there are several misunderstandings about hearing loss. Here are six common myths about hearing loss.
- “There’s nothing you can do about hearing loss.”
False. There is no way to reverse permanent damage to the inner ear, but there are options available to improve your hearing impairment such as hearing aids and cochlear implants.
- “Primary care physicians can tell me if I need hearing aids.”
False. Although some physicians perform basic hearing screenings, most do not perform the full hearing test that is needed in order to determine if a person needs hearing aids. Speak with an audiologist to find out if you need hearing aids.
- “Hearing loss happens only to the elderly.”
False. Approximately 65% of those with hearing loss are under the age of 65. Hearing loss can affect anyone but is most prominent in the elderly because they are more likely to experience disabling hearing loss.
- “I only need to see a hearing care professional if my hearing gets really bad.”
False. As you lose your hearing, your brain stops recognizing and interpreting sounds. If you wear hearing aids early on, your brain can be retrained to interpret sounds.
- “My insurance will cover my hearing aids, right?”
Unfortunately, false. Although some insurers are beginning to include hearing aids in their plans, most private and company-sponsored plans do not. Additionally, most state Medicaid programs do not cover hearing aids.
- “Hearing aids are too big and noticeable.”
False. Hearing technology has advanced in recent years and has become much smaller, customizable, and powerful. There are now a variety of options available to consumers who desire a sleek, unnoticeable hearing aid.