Hearing loss is an invisible disability. Unless your hearing aids or other assistive listening devices are obvious, most people won’t notice that you’re hard of hearing until they realize that you’re not fully understanding what they say.
If you haven’t addressed your hearing loss in California, you’re not alone—only about 20 percent of people with hearing disabilities have sought medical assistance. Studies have shown that while access to healthcare and income are major factors, often this lack of care is due to some common misconceptions about hearing loss. Here are some examples of those misconceptions:
- I’m too young to have hearing loss: Many people wrongfully assume that hearing loss doesn’t set in until you’re in your 60s or older. Unfortunately, hearing loss can happen at any age—especially if you frequent loud concerts or work in noisy manufacturing- or construction-related professions without using ear protection. If you notice a decline in your hearing, get it checked immediately.
- I’ll have to learn sign language: No, not everyone with hearing loss is required to learn American Sign Language—although it never hurts to know how to communicate with people who are severely hearing impaired. Many people get by with basic hearing aids.
- I’ll just read lips: Whether you think you can read lips or your hearing-impaired friend can, lip reading is not an exact art—it’s more of a context clue. Reading lips is no substitute for an assistive listening device.
- Most people are just pretending they can’t hear you: One of the most toxic misconceptions about the hearing impaired is that they have “selective” hearing as a way to deal with things that they don’t want to confront. This is categorically untrue.
- My family isn’t deaf, so I’m not, either: Deafness is not necessarily hereditary—you can lose your hearing quite randomly, as well as from illness or noise exposure.
- If people talk louder, I’ll hear them better: If a person is truly hearing impaired, it’s not actually helpful to talk louder and slower unless they specifically say so. Hearing loss usually isn’t like having the volume turned down—it’s like having the sound distorted.
- I’m too pretty to wear hearing aids: Maybe your only experience with someone wearing hearing aids was your grandpa, who had an early ‘90s model with giant battery compartments over the ears. No, they’re not the most flattering look—but hearing aids have come a long way in the last 30 years. There are plenty of nearly-invisible options that won’t affect your style.
- I’ll just get surgery to fix it: Unfortunately, there’s no cure for hearing loss—although in some cases, a cochlear implant can help.
Get help with hearing loss in California
If you’re experiencing or suspect you may be dealing with hearing loss in California, Valley Hearing Center – Salinas can help. Since 1963, we have been offering patient-oriented audiology services, including free hearing tests, hearing aids and other assistive listening devices, custom ear molds and more. Call us today to learn more about our services.
Categorised in: Hearing Loss
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