Our audiologists at The Hearing Care Partnership hear many negative, and often untrue, comments about hearing loss and hearings aids. Stigma around hearing impairment is often what puts people off booking a free hearing assessment, and people can go for years before acting on their hearing loss.
Talking about hearing impairment begins with good understanding and knowledge. We’ve separated out the facts from the fiction of the most common misconceptions about hearing:
FICTION:It’s obvious when you have hearing loss.
FACT: The side effects of hearing loss are more easily identifiable than the hearing loss itself.
It can take some people over seven years to do something about their hearing loss. Other symptoms can also impact your life before you realise it’s hearing related. Indications of hearing loss include:
- Fatigue: subconsciously, your brain is working harder to try to understand what people are saying, which can leave you feeling fatigued.
- Decreased energy levels: with hearing difficulties, you’re likely to use a lot more energy than you’d think to try to make sense of what people are saying.
- Mental deterioration: untreated hearing loss accelerates mental decline, resulting in a higher risk of dementia due to less stimulation of the auditory cortex.
FICTION: Hearing loss affects your ability to hear all sounds.
FACT: Different kinds of hearing impairment will affect you in different ways.
As your hearing gradually changes, we get used to missing out on certain sounds. Normally, hearing high frequency hearing what is lost first, which will affect the clarity of many sounds including speech, or differentiating sounds when there is a lot of background noise.
FICTION: Hearing aids stop your hearing from improving, or working well by itself.
FACT: Hearing aids support your brain and your hearing ability.
The earlier you are fitted with hearing aids, the better your hearing can be preserved. If hearing loss goes untreated, you can suffer from auditory deprivation, where the lack of stimulation over time means the brain loses the ability to interpret words. Hearing aids stimulate the auditory cortex, helping to prevent or sometimes reverse auditory deprivation.
FICTION: Tinnitus is untreatable.
FACT: 90% of tinnitus is a result of hearing loss, and can be managed with hearing aids.
Tinnitus can take many different forms, including ringing, buzzing or hissing sounds that have no external source. It’s the auditory cortex lacking stimulation which causes tinnitus, and it’s important to book in for a free hearing assessment if you experience the symptoms of tinnitus.
FICTION: You only need hearing assessments when you stop hearing well.
FACT: Hearing and the health of your ears should be assessed regularly, to prevent any potential conditions.
The same as visiting the dentist before you have toothache, checking your hearing before you have difficulty hearing is the best way to make sure you get the most out of your hearing long term. It’s never too soon to have your first hearing check, and it makes it easier to detect any changes.
If you have any concerns about your hearing, or would simply like more information, you can book a free hearing assessment online, or contact your nearest THCP audiologist.