You may experience many signs of hearing loss but think “my hearing loss is not bad enough” or “I can get along without any help.” In fact, these are the top four reasons people cite when asked why they don’t get a hearing test, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Below are many answers to the statements that correlate to these reasons.
#4. If I had a hearing loss, my family doctor would have told me.
Not true! Only 14 percent of physicians routinely screen for hearing loss during a physical. Since most people with problems hearing hear well in a quiet environment like a doctor’s office, it can be virtually impossible for your physician to recognize the extent of your problem. Without special training and an understanding of the nature of hearing loss, it may be difficult for your physician to even realize you have a hearing problem.
#3. Hearing loss is a harmless condition.
Studies have linked untreated hearing loss to irritability, anger, fatigue, tension, depression, avoidance or withdrawal from social situations, social rejection and loneliness, reduced job performance and earning power, and diminished psychological and overall health.
#2. My hearing loss is normal for my age.
Isn’t this a strange way to look at things? But do you realize well-meaning physicians tell this to their patients every day? It happens to be “normal” for overweight people to have high blood pressure. That doesn’t mean they should not receive treatment for the problem. It also happens to be normal to lose vision as we age, but does that mean we should not pursue eye glasses?
#1. 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 cannot be helped, often by their family practice physician. This might have been true many years ago, but with modern advances in technology, nearly 95 percent of people with a sensorineural hearing loss CAN be helped with hearing aids.
It appears hearing instruments can help many people with hearing deficits, but can a hearing aid help me? Yes! Today’s sophisticated digital hearing instruments can help almost every patient with hearing loss. There are hearing instruments designed for patients with very mild losses to those who suffer from severe to profound deficits. Only five to 10 percent of adult hearing problems are medically or surgically treatable. Within this category are bone-anchored hearing aids for conductive hearing losses or single sided deafness and cochlear implants for severe to profound hearing losses. It is recommended to receive a hearing test by a skilled hearing professional to determine if you would be a candidate for either procedure.