Hearing Loss: Separating Facts from Fiction

NOON NOTEBOOK: Arizona Hearing Specialists

SOUTHERN ARIZONA - Think you know the facts about hearing loss?

Chances are you’ve been misled by reading common myths through the years.

Myth #1: The most common cause of hearing loss is advancing age.

While age is the strongest predictor of hearing loss among adults aged 20-69, with the greatest amount of hearing loss in the 60 to 69 age group, the truth is that exposure to loud noise is the number one cause of hearing loss, with roughly 40 million adults measuring loss in tests. Meanwhile, hereditary factors and health conditions like heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and other circulatory problems also cause hearing loss, along with some medications, antibiotics and chemotherapy drugs—otherwise known as ototoxic drugs.

Myth #2: Only people with serious hearing loss need hearing devices.

The need for hearing amplification is dependent on your lifestyle, your degree of hearing loss and your specific listening needs. If you are a teacher or a lawyer, for example, refined hearing is necessary to understand the nuances of communication. Therefore, you may not be able to tolerate even a mild level of hearing loss. On the other hand, if you live alone or in a rural area and seldom socialize, then your tolerance level for moderate hearing loss may be higher.

Myth #3: If I had a hearing loss, my family doctor would have told me.

Studies by the Better Hearing Institute show that only 14% of physicians routinely screen for hearing loss during a physical. Like vision checks and teeth cleanings, and of course physical checkups, hearing tests are your best chance at assessing your hearing health needs before issues, if any, start to impede on your quality of life. Hearing loss may happen so gradually that you may not even be aware that you have a measurable loss until your family, colleagues or friends say something. As with the rest of your body, proactive care is the best kind of care.

Myth #4: Hearing devices will make me look "older.”

Most people find that a hearing loss is much more obvious than a hearing aid! Asking people to repeat themselves and missing social cues is not fun for either person in a conversation and is tied to a much stronger association with the elderly than a hearing aid. Meanwhile, hearing aids have joined the smart tech revolution and are truly becoming coveted health tech accessories. They are sleeker, nearly invisible and capable of connecting to everything from phones to computers. So, the elderly stigma is simply not there anymore.

Myth #5: Hearing devices aren’t worth the expense.

Research conducted by the Better Hearing Institute concluded that nine out of ten people indicate that the quality of their life has improved with hearing devices. Overall satisfaction with one-year-old hearing devices is now 78%, which is close to satisfaction ratings for most consumer electronics. As discussed above, technology is advancing at a revolutionary rate, and devices come in a variety of prices. More importantly, they help you connect with friends and family again—which is priceless.

To discuss your hearing needs, contact Arizona Hearing Specialists to schedule an appointment with one of our doctors of audiology.