Common Myths about Hearing Loss and Hearing Aids

Common Myths about Hearing Loss and Hearing Aids

"My 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 can't be helped, often by their family practice physician.  This might have been true many years ago, but with modern advances in technology, CROS aids, etc., nearly 95 percent of people with a sensorineural hearing loss can benefit to some degree with hearing aids.

"Hearing Loss Affects Only Old People and is a Sign of Aging"

Only 35 % of people with hearing loss are older than age 64.  There are close to six million people in the U.S., between the ages of 18 and 44 with hearing loss, and more than one million are of school age.  Hearing loss affects all age groups.

"The Consequences of Hiding Hearing Loss are Better than Wearing Hearing Aids."

What price are you paying for vanity?  I go back to the old adage that an untreated hearing loss is far more noticeable than hearing aids.  If you miss a punch line to a joke or respond inappropriately in conversation, people may have concerns about your mental acuity, your attention span, or your ability to communicate effectively.  The personal consequences of vanity 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, vanity could severely reduce the quality of your life.

"I'll just have some minor surgery like my friend did, and then my hearing will be okay."

Many people know someone whose hearing improved after medical or surgical treatment, and it's true that some types of  hearing loss can be successfully treated, such as otosclerosis or otits media.  With adults, unfortunately, this only applies to about ten percent of cases.  The majority of adult cases of hearing loss will be treated with amplification.

"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 physicians tell this to their patients every day?  It happens to be "normal" for overweight people to have high blood pressure or diabetes.  That doesn't mean they should not receive treatment for the problem.  Although hearing loss becomes more common after 70 years of age, that doesn't mean that it does not cause a handicapping condition that should be treated to ensure improved quality of life.


Carmen, Richard E., AuD, The Consumer Handbook on Hearing Loss & Hearing Aids, Third Edition, 2009, pp. 42-43.