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Truths and Myths About Hearing Loss

By Hoglund Family Hearing and Audiology Services

As a public service, Hoglund Family Hearing and Audiology Center would like to clear up some of the confusion regarding Hearing Loss by sharing the following TRUTHS about your hearing… and dispel many of the most commonly believed MYTHS relate to your hearing.

Myth: I don’t need hearing aids. My hearing is mostly fine.
When you have a hearing loss in some frequencies and not others, it is easier to dismiss it as unimportant. Even a mild hearing loss can adversely affect your cognitive capabilities, work, home, and social life. Fortunately, the brain’s neuroplasticity means that treating hearing loss allows the brain to relearn how to hear. Proper hearing aid use correlates with improved outlook, mood, mobility, independence, communication, and social interaction.

Myth: Hearing loss is only in my ears.
Untreated hearing loss increases risk of cognitive decline, dementia, falls, social isolation, and depression. It’s theorized that the “cognitive load” on the brain may take away resources the brain uses for other functions, such as short-term memory, and affects our ability of spatial awareness. Researchers cite treating hearing loss with hearing aids can alleviate symptoms of these conditions.

Myth: Hearing aids are like eyeglasses.
Hearing and vision are both major senses and hearing aids and eyeglasses are frequently compared. Eyeglasses are a mechanism to immediately assist the eye to focus and do not require vision training to wear them. Hearing aids are responsible for helping the brain perceive pitch, duration, loudness, timbre, and spatial location of sounds. Sounds can tell us where things are, if they are moving, how far or near an object may be, and more. Sound waves are captured by our ears and perceived by our brain as a sound. Sound also gives us the ability to communicate and understand spoken language. With hearing aids, the brain needs time to adjust to the sound coming through the hearing instrument. Hearing aids need to be programmed to a Patient’s hearing ability. Fine-tuning may take several trips to the Audiologist or Hearing Specialist. Even the most advanced hearing aids will not restore hearing 100 percent and individuals may need auditory training to help the brain process sounds.

Truth: Hearing health is overall health.
Hearing occurs in the brain. The pathway to signal transmission and comprehension is quite complex. Hearing loss due to injury, illness, excessive sound, and aging affects our brain health and puts us at increased risk of cognitive decline. It also affects our physical health with an increased risk of falls and our mental health with an increased risk of depression and social isolation. Hearing loss is connected to diabetes and heart disease. Many people assume hearing loss is age-related and it’s either something to be accepted or something to be ashamed of. Annual hearing testing may help those with hearing loss gain a quicker diagnosis, treatment, and benefit from hearing aids.

Myth: Excessive noise won’t cause hearing loss.
Any sounds above 85 decibels for an extensive time can contribute to permanent noise-induced hearing loss. What does that mean? To put that into perspective, a typical conversation is around 60 decibels and is unlikely to damage your hearing. A hair dryer or a power lawnmower is 90 decibels, while an ambulance siren is 120 decibels. Regular and prolonged unprotected exposure above 85 decibels is considered hazardous. Noise-induced hearing loss can occur in work environments, such as manufacturing, construction and more, from the use of loud equipment. The louder the sound, the shorter the amount of time it takes for hearing loss to occur.

Myth: Hearing loss is unavoidable with age.
Hearing loss has many causes, including genetics, certain medications, and exposure to loud noises. Smoking and diabetes also can lead to hearing impairment. Like skin damage from sun exposure, the cumulative effect of today’s loud societies has led to a greater incidence of hearing loss that becomes increasingly apparent over a lifetime—that is, in older adults. Noise exposure is the most preventable cause of hearing loss.

Truth: More than 200 medications can cause hearing loss
Here’s a little-known fact: specific medications can harm the ear, causing hearing loss, ringing in the ear, or balance problems. These medications are considered ototoxic. In fact, there are more than 200 identified ototoxic medications.

Myth: But I love music. It’s not harmful.
In one of the largest studies ever performed on hearing disorders affiliated with musicians, researchers discovered that musicians are 57 percent more likely to suffer from tinnitus—consistent ringing in the ears—as a result of their job. If you’re a musician, or if you participate in live events, safeguard your ears. Some 1.1 billion teenagers and young adults are at risk of hearing loss due to the unsafe use of personal audio devices, including smartphones, and exposure to damaging levels of sound at noisy entertainment venues such as nightclubs, bars and sporting events. Musicians benefit from professional earplugs that provide safe listening and preserve sound quality.

Myth: It’s not me. I’m not old enough to have hearing loss.
Of the 48 million individuals who have hearing loss in the U.S., it’s common to presume that the vast majority are old. But the truth is the reverse. For those troubled with hearing loss in the U.S., approximately 62 percent are younger than 65.

TRUTH: Hearing Examinations should be scheduled regularly!
A comprehensive Hearing Evaluation is the BEST way to have all your questions answered concerning your hearing! At Hoglund Family Hearing and Audiology Center we offer these tests as a Public Service to everyone in Southwest Florida at each of our conveniently located Clinics. You will also receive a dated copy of your hearing test to keep as part of your medical records. “All it will COST is a little of your TIME… but the KNOWLEDGE you receive may be PRICELESS!”

Hoglund Family Hearing And Audiology Center
Fifteen 8th Street, Suite B (Next to Royal Scoop Ice Cream)
Bonita Springs, FL 31434

Southwest Florida Tinnitus And Hearing Center
10020 Coconut Rd. Ste.120 (Next to LabCorp)
Estero, FL 34135

13710 Metropolis Ave.Suite 101
(One block west of Gulf Coast Hospital)
Fort Myers, FL 33912

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