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Sign Language Studies

American Annals of the Deaf

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Living with Hearing Loss

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Myth: Your hearing loss is not bad enough for a hearing aid.
Truth: Everyone's hearing loss is different. Some hard of hearing people hear well on the telephone; others have difficulty. Some have no problem in a quiet one-on-one situation but have difficulty in a noisy or group setting. You must determine the degree of difficulty you are having, and together with a trained hearing health care professional, determine your need for a hearing aid.

Myth: A hearing aid will correct your hearing.
Truth: A hearing aid may be helpful, but it is not a cure for hearing loss. Hearing aids are not like eyeglasses; they cannot correct or restore hearing to normal levels, but they will make sounds louder. If your hearing loss can be helped with a hearing aid, then an appropriately prescribed and fitted hearing aid should make your hearing and understanding abilities better, and in turn, improve your quality of life.

Myth: A hearing aid will damage your hearing.
Truth: A hearing aid will not damage your hearing.

Myth: Your hearing loss is not bad enough for two hearing aids.
Truth: We normally hear with two ears; therefore, most people with hearing loss in both ears can understand better with two aids than with one.

Myth: Behind-the-ear hearing aids are old fashioned; you will do much better with the newer in-the-ear hearing aids.
Truth: Behind-the-ear hearing aids are as state of the art as in-the-ear hearing aids. Some include features not found in the smaller hearing aids, and a particular feature may be important for you. You should work closely with your hearing health care provider to ensure that the aid you get is appropriate for your particular needs. Function, not appearance, is the crucial consideration.

Myth: You should have your hearing tested in your own home where you spend most of your time.
Truth: The hearing test should be conducted in a soundproof room in order to provide the most accurate results. The information gleaned from the test is used to select the most appropriate hearing aid for your individual hearing loss. Only individuals confined to a bed for health reasons should have hearing tests in other sites such as their home.

Myth: You can save a lot of money buying a hearing aid through the mail.
Truth: When you buy a hearing aid, you not only are buying a piece of equipment, you are buying the service of a hearing health care provider in your locality. Unlike eyeglasses, hearing aids require a longer period of adjustment and often modifications that can only be made by trained personnel. The wrong hearing aid, or one that is not fitted properly, can be worse than no hearing aid at all.

Myth: Your hearing loss will not change in the future.
Truth: No one can predict the future. Your hearing loss may remain stable for the rest of your life, or it may change slowly and progressively or suddenly and dramatically.

Myth: Learn to speechread (lipread) and you will understand just fine.
Truth: Many people benefit from taking speechreading lessons; however speechreading is not a substitute for hearing aids but a complement to them. Research studies have found that only about three out of ten words can be speechread clearly, only about 30 to40 percent of speech is visible, and many words that are visible look the same on the lips (for example, pat and bat, see and tea).

What are the common early signs?
What are the myths?
What are the types of hearing loss?
What are the causes of hearing loss?

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