Hearing loss is very common, with approximately 15% of American adults aged 18 and over reporting some trouble hearing. About 28.8 million U.S. adults could benefit from using hearing aids.

Yet, among adults aged 70 and older with hearing loss who could benefit from hearing aids, fewer than 30% has ever used them. Even fewer adults aged 20 to 69 (approximately 16%) who could benefit from wearing hearing aids have ever used them.

There are many myths circulating our communities that prevent people with hearing loss from getting the help they need.

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Here are 20 common misconceptions:

Number 1: If you had hearing loss, you’d know. While this sounds quite logical, the truth is, you may have hearing loss and not even know it. This is because hearing loss can happen gradually. As your hearing begins to fade, you may compensate by increasing the volume of the television or asking people to repeat themselves, assuming they are mumbling, when in reality, you are suffering from hearing loss. If someone, especially a loved one tells you that you need to get a hearing test, listen.

Number 2: It’s not worth the trouble to improve your hearing. While it may seem like a big hassle to find a New York City based audiologist, schedule a hearing test, travel to your appointment, and shell out money for hearing aids, it’s all worth it in the end because improving your hearing means enhancing your quality of life. It will also strengthen your relationships with family, friends, and coworkers.

Number 3: It’s okay to put off getting hearing aids. Hearing loss worsens over time. The longer you ignore it, the worse your hearing will get, and the harder it will be to recover. Therefore, the sooner you deal with it, the better. Also, it can be difficult to adjust to wearing hearing aids if you’ve been living with hearing loss for an extended period of time.

Number 4: If you’re hearing impaired, everyone else should just talk louder. This is a quick way to make your friends, family, and coworkers resent you. Why should they have to shout when they know full well your issue could be fixed by seeing an audiologist? Instead of constantly repeating themselves, they may just opt to avoid you entirely. For this reason, hearing loss can lead to social isolation, which leads to depression.

Number 5: Hearing aids won’t work for you. This is unlikely, as hearing aids can benefit almost everyone suffering from hearing loss if they are prescribed the appropriate technology and use the correct settings. A qualified hearing specialist can help you to achieve the best hearing possible for your situation.

Number 6: Hearing aids are ugly. Years ago, this was true. Today, not so much. You can now choose from dozens of styles that go in the ear, in the ear canal or behind the ear, making some types of hearing aids nearly invisible.

Number 7: Hearing aids will make you look old. This is a stereotype. People of all ages suffer from hearing loss and many young people wear hearing aids. If anything will make you look old, it’s constantly asking people to repeat themselves when talking to you. Furthermore, as we just mentioned, depending on the style you choose, it’s unlikely that most people will even know that you’re wearing a hearing aid.

Number 8: You can save money by just getting one hearing aid. Not so fast. Our two ears must work together to hear and maintain balance. If both of your ears are suffering from hearing loss, one hearing aid simply won’t do. You wouldn’t walk around with half a pair of eyeglasses would you?

Number 9: You have a little hearing loss in one ear, but the other is fine. Almost all people who think that have one good ear usually have two bad ears. Typically, it’s just that one ear is slightly better than the other. One in eight people in the United States aged 12 years or older has hearing loss in both ears.

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Number 10:  Hearing aids are expensive. It’s true that hearing aids aren’t cheap, however, not many things of value are. How can you put a price on the quality of life you will have when you’re able to hear the birds sing, hear your grandkids laugh, and hear your friends tell jokes? Also, your insurance may cover some or all of the cost of your hearing aids. Ask us how.

Number 11: Your hearing can be fixed with one minor surgery. While some types of hearing loss can be treated with surgery, this isn’t true for about 90% of cases.

Number 12: Hearing loss only affects only old people. Hearing loss can affect people of any age. In fact, only 35% of people with hearing loss are over 64 years old. And about 2 to 3 out of every 1,000 children in the United States are born with a detectable level of hearing loss in one or both ears.

Number 13: Your family doctor will tell you if you have hearing loss. Most physicians don’t screen for hearing loss during an annual physical and don’t have specialized training in audiology.

Number 14: Hearing loss is normal for your age. There are many causes of hearing loss, including exposure to loud noises, genetics, smoking, diabetes, certain medications, and more.

Number 15: Your hearing loss can’t be helped. Even if you or someone you know was told many years ago that the type of hearing loss you have could not be treated, there have been many technological advances in recent years, and today, nearly 95% of people who have sensorineural hearing loss can benefit from using hearing aids.

Number 16; Only people with severe hearing loss need hearing aids. Any level of hearing loss can result in a lowered quality of life, but that threshold is different for everyone. Hearing aids can help those suffering from even a low or moderate level of hearing loss.

Number 17: Hearing aids make everything sound too loud. Perhaps this was true of the hearing aids of the past. But today’s technology has come a long way. Hearing aids no longer have volume controls, they work by automatically providing the amount of sound amplification necessary.

Number 18: Hearing loss doesn’t affect the rest of your health. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Unfortunately, hearing loss that is left untreated can increase the risk of dementia, falls, and cognitive decline.

Number 19: Hearing aids will help you achieve perfect hearing. While hearing aids can significantly improve your ability to hear, you shouldn’t expect them to perform miracles. However, the quicker you address your hearing loss, the less likely you are to have it continue to decline.

Number 20: Your hearing loss is only your problem. Your hearing loss doesn’t affect just you, it affects everyone around you, including your spouse, other family members, friends, and co-workers that are trying to connect and communicate with you. Why put an unnecessary strain on those valuable relationships?

Are You Ready to See Your Local NYC Audiologist?

Many myths are floating around when it comes to hearing loss and hearing aids. Separating fact from fiction is important. There’s no need to continue to second guess yourself about whether you have hearing loss or whether you could benefit from hearing aids, make an appointment with an audiologist for a hearing test, if necessary, they’ll recommend a hearing aid that’s right for you. If you suspect you or someone you know has hearing loss, contact us today.

Dr. Kathy Feng

Dr. Kathy Feng

Dr. Kathy Feng is a NY State licensed Doctor of Audiology with over 10 years of experience working with patients of all ages. Part of her inspiration came from watching her grandmother struggle with hearing loss during her golden years.

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