Undiagnosed hearing loss causes about 37 people in the US to miss out on living a richer, more independent, and rewarding lifestyle. Out of almost 110 million Americans over the age of 50, a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reports that nearly one-third of them are living with less than ideal hearing. The greatest tragedy, which causes me great concern, is the fact that many of the actual people behind those statistics live in the Pensacola Bay area and have access to top-quality hearing care.
What prevents people from getting help?
The reason many individuals over the age of 50 aren’t getting help comes from misunderstandings or myths about hearing loss and hearing assessments. By counting down the top four myths about hearing loss and responding with the fact, we hope to encourage our community members to take advantage of available hearing care.
MYTH #4: Hearing tests won’t tell me anything useful.
FACT: As sound processing deteriorates, your brain adapts and compensates. This takes place over an extended amount of time, making it impossible to recognize that you’re losing your hearing. Hearing tests provide several benefits like:
- An objective means to identify the cause and extent of your hearing loss.
- Provide the data necessary to custom program hearing instruments.
- Establish a baseline against which future changes can be measured.
During a hearing assessment, your audiologist can also educate you about preventative measures such as the damage caused by ototoxic medications or wearing hearing protection for certain activities.
MYTH #3: If I can’t hear, I just need to turn up the volume.
FACT: Although loudness is one of the problems related to hearing loss, the majority of issues are associated with hearing clarity. By turning up the volume, you only increase the intensity of the distortion. Common clarity issues include:
- Difficulty hearing with background noise indicates a decreased ability to distinguish between far away and close up sounds.
- Struggling to identify the difference between some consonants makes understanding conversations a significant challenge.
- Phone conversations or talking with women and children become frustrating as your brain is no longer processes high-frequency sounds.
An audiologist can both identify and treat these issues, improving hearing clarity at normal volume levels.
MYTH #2: If I had trouble hearing, I’d be the first to know.
FACT: Have you ever seen grass grow? Though you can’t see it happening, you recognize when its time to cut the grass. Hearing loss is similar. It comes on at such a slow pace that you are unable to notice the changes until it becomes a problem. Consequently, family and friends usually identify the problem before the person struggling with hearing loss.
By seeking help from an audiologist, you get an objective point of view regarding whether or not you’re losing your hearing. With a hearing assessment, we can identify and customize treatment to fit your unique needs.
MYTH #1: My hearing loss doesn’t bother anybody.
FACT: You are the person most harmed by hearing loss. The consequences of untreated hearing loss lead to mental health issues like depression, anxiety, and isolation. These issues are compounded as relationships at home and work become strained because of mood swings or a failure to communicate. Your risk of various physical health conditions also increases due to untreated hearing loss.
The good news is that early detection and treatment can allow you to live a more rewarding and independent lifestyle without skipping a beat.
The Hearing Center MCC Recommends Frequent Hearing Tests
If you are over the age of fifty, it is best to schedule a hearing assessment even if you don’t believe you are experiencing hearing loss. The Hearing Center MCC recommends that the Pensacola Bay community residents schedule regular screenings to help identify and treat a hearing loss before it becomes a major issue.
If you or a loved one has been struggling, contact us to schedule a comprehensive hearing assessment or call us at 850.474.8328 to address any questions or concerns you might have.