Many people take their hearing for granted. While it’s possible to live a lifetime without a single hearing problem, anyone who has attended a concert has probably considered the possibility of hearing loss, be it temporary or permanent. Unfortunately, there are many myths associated with hearing loss and treatment. And The Better Hearing Institute (BHI) wants to educate the public about hearing loss and available treatments to dispel some of these myths, such as:
* Minor surgery can fix my hearing. Though medical treatment or surgery can benefit hearing loss, only 5-10 percent of adult cases of hearing loss are helped by surgery.
* I have one good ear and one bad ear. When one ear is bad, the natural tendency is to begin favoring the other ear when using the telephone or having face-to-face conversations. This creates the illusion that the so-called “better ear” is normal when it really isn’t. In fact, BHI says most types of hearing loss affect both ears equally and 90 percent of hearing loss patients are in need of hearing aids for both ears.
* Hearing loss is for the elderly. This is the most common misconception about hearing loss, but is completely untrue. In fact, only 35 percent of people with hearing loss are over the age of 64. Nearly 6 million people in the United States alone between the ages of 18 and 44 have some hearing loss, and more than one million are school age.
* My doctor would have told me if I had hearing loss. According to the BHI, only 14 percent of physicians routinely screen for hearing loss during a physical. Due to the quiet nature of a doctor’s office, it’s easy for the physician to assume your hearing is fine because the environment is quiet and you are probably not showing any symptoms of hearing loss. When visiting the doctor for your next physical, ask him to look for any signs of hearing loss during the physical.
* Hearing loss is normal for my age. Hearing loss isn’t normal for anyone, no matter what a friend, relative or even physician might say.
* Hearing loss is untreatable. Hearing loss may have been untreatable years ago, but technology has changed that. While surgery might not be the answer, 95 percent of people with sensorineural hearing loss (caused by damage to the inner ear) can be helped with hearing aids. Other types of hearing loss, such as conductive hearing loss, which affects the outer and/or middle ear, caused by ear wax and ear infections, can often be medically or surgically treated. Mixed hearing loss (a combination of conductive and sensorineural) can often be helped with a surgically implanted device called a cochlear implant.
To learn more about hearing loss and treatment options, visit the Better Hearing Institute Web site at www.betterhearing.org.
Locally, Buffalo Hearing and Speech licensed audiologists provide a full range of services, treatment options, and free educational seminars where participants are able to meet with professionals and get many of their questions answered. To learn more visit http://www.askbhsc.org/content/pages/about-hearing-loss. FP105426
Buffalo Hearing and Speech is conveniently located in Buffalo, Amherst, West Seneca, Fredonia and Wheatfield. Visit www.askbhsc.orgor call 885-8
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