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Living with Hearing Loss

Marcia B. Dugan

Written in collaboration with Self Help for Hard of Hearing People

Chapter Three: Myths about Hearing Loss - Fact and Fiction

Once you have acknowledged your hearing loss and decided to do something about it, you will receive advice--solicited and unsolicited--from family and friends, and even medical personnel.

Some of this advice and information is accurate, but a large amount of misinformation has been circulated over the years. Listed below are some incorrect statements and the corrected information to help you understand your hearing loss.

Myth: A mild hearing loss is nothing to be concerned about.
Truth: Although you may think that you are not missing important information and seem to be managing, you may not realize that your family and friends are frustrated and that you have begun to feel left out. Not only should you be concerned about your hearing loss, you should do something about it.

Myth: You will be the first person to notice that you have a hearing loss.
Truth: Because hearing loss often occurs gradually, you may not notice it at first. Family members and co-workers often are the first to notice that you need to have questions repeated or that the television is too loud.

Myth: Your hearing loss is normal for your age.
Truth: Hearing loss is not normal at any age; however, hearing loss is more prevalent among older adults than in the general population. Currently, approximately one third of the population older than sixty-five has some degree of hearing loss.

Myth: You have a sensorineural hearing loss (nerve deafness) and there is nothing you can do about it.
Truth: Most hearing losses can be helped with amplification and assistive listening devices. A majority of people with nerve deafness hear better by wearing hearing aids. This form of hearing loss is not correctable with surgery. Conductive hearing loss, however, is often correctable medically or surgically.

Myth: You would understand people if you listened more carefully.
Truth: Although paying attention, watching the speaker's lips, and observing body language can help you understand the message, no amount of careful listening can make you understand what you can't hear clearly. If you have a hearing loss, you need to acknowledge it and see a trained hearing health care professional for an evaluation to determine if you would benefit from a hearing aid.

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