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  • Hearing Loss – Do You Know The Facts? Do you know the common myths?
    8 Mar , 2016










    Hearing loss affects nearly 50 million Americans. This includes 1 in 5 teenagers and 60% of returning veterans from foreign wars. It is a pervasive problem, but one that is not always taken very seriously. Hearing loss is often viewed as a normal part of aging, or someone else’s problem, this person mumbles or that restaurant has gotten too loud. Often, it is ignored for years due to stigma or denial, or just a refusal to acknowledge the problem. For many, it seems easier to simply ignore it and withdraw, than to take action to treat the hearing loss and continue with one’s lively and fulfilling life.


    But recent studies indicate hearing loss cannot be ignored. Hearing loss is associated with many serious diseases, depression, a higher risk of falls, and even dementia. We believe the best advice is to know the facts and get the necessary treatment You may require.




    Hearing Loss Prevalence – Not Just For The Old


    According to the World Health Organization, 360 million people worldwide have disabling hearing loss.


    There are 48 million people in the US with hearing loss, yet only 2 million consider themselves Deaf, using sign language as their primary mode of communication.


    One in 5 teenagers has hearing loss. (This study was published in 2010, so the numbers are probably higher today).


    60% of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan come home with hearing loss and tinnitus.


    Hearing loss and tinnitus are the #1 and #2 most prevalent war wounds.


    According to the Better Hearing Institute, 65% of people with hearing loss are below age 65.


    About 2 to 3 out of every 1,000 children in the United States are born with a detectable level of hearing loss in one or both ears.


    On average, it takes seven to 10 years before someone with hearing loss seeks treatment for it.



    Hearing Loss Is Associated With Many Health Problems



    Hearing loss is associated with a higher risk of falls. People with a mild hearing loss are nearly three times more likely to have a history of falling. Each additional 10-decibels of loss increases the chances of falling by 1.4 times.


    Hearing loss is twice as common in people with diabetes. Among people with pre-diabetes, the rate of hearing loss is 30 percent higher than in those with normal blood glucose levels.


    Those with even mild hearing loss are twice as likely to develop dementia and this likelihood increases with higher degrees of hearing loss.


    Hearing loss is linked to accelerated brain tissue loss.


    There is a high correlation between hearing loss and cardiovascular disease.


    Roughly 10 percent of the U.S. adult population, or about 25 million Americans, has experienced tinnitus lasting at least five minutes in the past year. Hearing loss occurs in 90% of tinnitus cases.






    Hearing loss affects only “old people” and is merely a sign of aging.


    Actually the prevalence of hearing loss is the reverse of what most people think. The majority (65%) of people with hearing loss are younger than age 65. There are more than six million people in the U.S. between the ages of 18 and 44 with hearing loss, and nearly one and a half million are school age. Hearing loss affects all age groups.


    If I had a hearing loss, my family doctor would have told me


    Not true! Only 13% of physicians routinely screen for hearing loss during a physical. Since most people with hearing impairments hear well in a quiet environment, like a doctor’s office, it can be virtually impossible for your physician to recognize the extent of your problem. Without special training, and an understanding of the nature of hearing loss, it may be difficult for your doctor to even realize you have a hearing problem. So you can see, true measures of hearing loss prevalence can be a difficult thing to determine.


    I have one ear that’s down a little, but the other one’s okay.


    Everything is relative. Nearly all patients who believe that they have one “good” ear actually have two “bad” ears. When one ear is slightly better than the other, we learn to favor that ear for the telephone, group conversations, and so forth. It can give the illusion that “the better ear” is normal when it isn’t. Most types of hearing loss affect both ears fairly equally, and about 90% of patients are in need of hearing aids for both ears.


    My hearing loss is normal for my age.


    Isn’t this a strange way to look at things? But, do you realize that well-meaning doctors tell this to their patients every day? It happens to be “normal” for overweight people to have high blood pressure. That doesn’t mean they should not receive treatment for the problem.


    Your hearing loss cannot be helped.


    In the past, many people with hearing loss in one ear, with a high frequency hearing loss, or with nerve damage have all been told they cannot be helped, often by their family practice physician. This might have been true many years ago, but with modern advances in technology, nearly 95% of people with a sensorineural hearing loss can be helped with hearing aids. Having your hearing checked by a hearing healthcare professional, is the most effective and reliable way of truly understanding you specific hearing health and your needs. A Atlantic has always offered our patients FREE hearing tests.


    The consequences of hiding hearing loss are better than wearing hearing aids.


    What price would you be paying for vanity? Untreated hearing loss is far more noticeable than hearing aids. If you miss a punch line to a joke, or respond inappropriately in a conversation, people may have concerns about you, your attention span or your ability to communicate effectively. The personal consequences can be life altering. At a simplistic level, untreated hearing loss means giving up some of the pleasant sounds you used to enjoy. At a deeper level, pride could severely reduce the quality of your life.


    Only people with serious hearing loss need hearing aids.


    The need for hearing amplification is dependent on your lifestyle, your need for refined hearing, and the degree of your hearing loss. If you are a person in a position, where very refined hearing is necessary to discern the nuances of human communication, then even a mild hearing loss can be intolerable. If you live in a rural area by yourself and seldom socialize, then perhaps you are someone who is tolerant of even moderate hearing losses.


    Hearing aids will make me look “older” and “handicapped.”


    Hearing aid manufacturers are well aware that cosmetics is an issue to many people, and that’s why today we have hearing aids that fit totally in the ear canal. This CIC style of hearing aid has enough power and special features to satisfy most individuals with hearing impairment. But more importantly, keep in mind that “an untreated hearing loss is more obvious than a hearing aid.” Smiling and nodding your head when you don’t understand what’s being said, makes your condition more apparent than the largest hearing aid would.


    Hearing aids will make everything sound too loud.


    Hearing aids are amplifiers. At one time, the way that hearing aids were designed, it was necessary to turn up the power in order to hear soft speech (or other soft sounds). Then, normal conversation indeed would have been too loud. With today’s hearing aids however, the circuit works automatically, only providing the amount of amplification needed based on the input level. In fact, many hearing aids today don’t have a volume control… Because they don’t need one.


    I am concerned about the integrity of hearing health professionals and the value of hearing aids.


    Rest assured, in research done by the “Better Hearing Institute”, with thousands of people just like you, it was found that hearing healthcare professionals, receive very high customer satisfaction ratings and 9 out of 10 people indicate that the quality of their life has improved with the addition of hearing aids in their lives. A Atlantic Hearing Aid Center Has been serving the community for the last 45 years, maintaining the highest quality and standards of care available anywhere. Come in and see us for your FREE hearing screening.


    Shari Eberts, Hearing Health Advocate, Writer, Blogger (© Living With Hearing Loss).

    The Better Hearing Institute, Washington DC.

    Image credit: Shari Eberts.