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OCT

Posted on Thursday, October 24, 2013

Myths About Hearing Loss

Basset hound with ears raised listens to myths about hearing loss.

The average person waits years before treating their hearing loss or upgrading their hearing aid. Although most people claim to know the importance of hearing health, many of them still hold fast to hearing loss myths that hold them back from accepting and treating their hearing loss.

My hearing isn’t bad enough to warrant buying a hearing aid-- Many people with hearing loss have no idea how much of life and sound they miss until they are tested. Others mistakenly believe that “low” hearing loss doesn’t need to be treated. Not true. All hearing loss has an effect on the brain and mood if left untreated, even unilateral hearing loss. Sensory input from your ears, helps to keep your brain younger and functioning better. A study conducted by Dr. Jonathan Peelle and funded by the National Institute on Hearing, showed that hearing loss and the resulting lack of stimulation tended to cause reduction in gray matter. This startling report indicates preserving hearing may be as important as correcting hearing loss in keeping the brain healthy.

I’m not really missing all that much and my hearing aids bother me anyway.--Silence is less abrasive than sound, so people with hearing loss often become conditioned to not hearing and don't really realize all that they are missing. They withdraw into themselves and cut themselves off from others, thus the noises of the world and everyday sounds once returned through a hearing aid can seem overwhelming. A hard of hearing person, conditioned to hearing less, will sometimes give up on their new hearing aids when a few adjustments and some patience could’ve made all the difference. There are even a few simple rules that can help you adjust to hearing again.
Is it worth it? Well, here’s what real people who have adjusted to their hearing aids after many years of not hearing have to say:

I am not basically a shy person, but the last few years I found myself withdrawing from people, because I was fearful of misunderstanding their words, or sounding stupid in my responses. I cannot tell you how grateful I feel for the changes those hearing aides have made in my life. I can be a whole person, a sharing person. I am back in the world!”

It’s the difference between feeling a part of life or feeling like an outsider. It’s that big of a deal. It’s the difference between feeling a part of life or feeling like an outsider. It’s that big of a deal.

Once I was afraid that wearing hearing aids would mark me as an old person. But I’ve realized that what really marks an old person is withdrawal from life. Ironically, wearing hearing aids has made me feel younger. Now I can hear, as I did years ago, what is going on around me. I listen, and respond, and laugh, and enjoy. More than anything, hearing again has helped me defy my 70 years. I may not be young in years, but I feel young in spirit again.

I’m too old for hearing aids--There is a mythology that hearing aids don’t make that big a difference in a person’s life, so people who are older mistakenly think they don’t need hearing aids or why should they waste the money. The truth of the matter is that hearing aids make a difference at any age. Check out Orville’s story. You’re never too old for a better, more engaged life. The interactions you have with your family are some of the most important moments in life. And they matter if you are 3 or 103.

Hearing doesn’t affect my overall health--Hearing loss has a whole body, physical, mental, and emotional impacts. Physically, hearing loss has been linked to unexpected falls; emotionally, it is connected with depression, isolation, lower self-esteem and higher anxiety; mentally with an increased likelihood of Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Falls--A recent study conducted by Johns Hopkins and funded by the National Institute on Health found that untreated hearing loss led to a 3x greater likelihood of falls and that this likelihood continued to increase with every 10 db rise in hearing loss.

Brain Atrophy--Sensory input form your ears helps to keep your brain younger and functioning better. Recent studies confirm there is a startling connection between hearing health and brain function. The hearing health misconception that the ears are separate from the rest of the body is fundamentally flawed.

Emotional--People who treat their hearing loss report that they are happier and less depressed since they began to wear hearing aids. A global initiative sponsored by Phonak called Hear the World reported as much in their study of 4,300 people in the US, Germany, France, Switzerland, and Great Britain. The study--also reported on by the Better Hearing Institute, showed that people who did not correct hearing loss with a hearing aid felt more depressed, insecure, and anxious.

Treating hearing loss has been shown to support a more positive, engaged, and active lifestyle and may ward off serious physical conditions like Alzheimer's and dementia. If you'd like to find out more about what hearing aids can do to help you, visit your hearing health provider. If you need help finding a hearing health provider click HERE to be connected with the largest network of trusted hearing health professionals in the nation!

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