When people make a list of things they fear as they age, hearing loss is seldom near the top. That’s because many of us have grown up thinking of hearing loss as something that happens only to “old” people.
However, it turns out we’ve got it all wrong. Hearing loss affects everyone differently and can happen at any age. So we’ve put together a helpful guide on what hearing loss actually looks like, what myths about it are false, and what you can do to prevent yourself from becoming one of the 48 million Americans expected to be living with some form of hearing loss by 2030.
Myth 1: Hearing loss is an inevitable part of the aging process.
False. While you may experience mild hearing loss as you age, this is not a normal part of aging; it can occur at any age and can be caused by a variety of factors.
You’ve heard the saying: “Age is a number.” While this may be true for some aspects of life, it’s not the case for hearing loss.
Unfortunately, most people don’t realize that hearing loss is preventable and treatable until it’s too late. What’s more, many think of hearing loss as a natural part of aging when in reality it can affect anyone at any age.
The key to preventing and managing age-related hearing loss (ARHL) lies in understanding how excessive noise exposure and other factors contribute to ARHL over time; identifying risk factors; learning about available treatments; and reducing your exposure to loud sounds by wearing earplugs or earmuffs where appropriate.
Myth 2: Only older people experience hearing loss.
Hearing loss can happen at any age, and is not just an issue for the elderly. Hearing loss may not be an inevitable part of the aging process either, as it doesn’t have to come with age-related changes in your brain or ears.
Hearing loss is a serious health issue that affects over 44 million Americans today—and the numbers are rising. In fact, one out of three Americans between ages 45 and 69 has some degree of hearing loss and nearly two out of three people aged 65-74 show signs of hearing impairment. The good news is that there are many effective treatments available to help correct different types of hearing loss!
You may think that hearing loss is only an issue for older adults, but you’d be wrong. In fact, younger adults and even children can develop hearing loss. There are several reasons why this happens:
- Exposure to loud noise
- Genetics (i.e., birth defects)
Myth 3: You’ll look old if you wear hearing aids.
This is one of the most common myths about hearing loss, and it’s also a misconception that many people with hearing loss fear. Hearing aids come in small, discreet packages and can be worn in many different ways depending on your preferences and lifestyle needs. If you want to wear behind-the-ear (BTE) or completely-in-canal (CIC) devices, there’s no reason why someone would know that you have them on unless they saw either type being put into place during an exam or fitting session at a local audiology clinic.
Today’s hearing aid technology is smaller and more sophisticated than ever before. You can hear better now than you ever could before. Today’s hearing aid technology is smaller and more sophisticated than ever before, giving you the ability to hear better in situations where you previously couldn’t.
No one has to know you’re wearing a device to improve your hearing. As we’ve mentioned, today’s hearing aids are much smaller than they used to be: They’re no longer bulky devices that make noises or emit visible lights when turned on—they’re more like tiny microphones directed toward your ears, which makes them virtually invisible when worn in public settings. If you have an invisible (or “invisible-fit”) device, no one will even notice that it’s there!
Myth 4: It’s not good to use a hearing aid because you’ll become even more dependent on it.
The truth is that hearing aids are not a crutch. In fact, they can improve your quality of life in many ways. They can help you to participate in conversations and enjoy things you haven’t been able to enjoy before.
They also improve your safety because you’ll be able to hear better when crossing the street or walking through crowds of people on city streets. And finally, hearing aids can help you hear better in noisy environments like restaurants, theaters and sporting events so you don’t miss out on those important conversations happening around you!
We hope we’ve succeeded in busting some of the most common myths about hearing loss, and that you now feel more informed and empowered to take care of your hearing. We’d also like to remind everyone that good hearing health starts with a regular check-up at an ear clinic—not just for older people but for everyone. You would be surprised how much easier it is to treat hearing problems when they are caught early. As we mentioned earlier, once you lose your ability to hear, there are fewer options available to help you regain it.