Every year, millions of Americans struggle with challenged hearing. It’s one of the leading chronic health conditions in the country, and yet, a large number of folks go through life undiagnosed and untreated.
Despite unprecedented advances in diagnostics and technologies, resulting in futuristic solutions, there remain some truly stone age myths about hearing loss. Can you spot the hearing loss myths below?
Hearing Loss Is Just A Part Of Getting Old
Myth. This is one of the most pervasive and outdated myths about hearing loss. Losing access to healthy hearing is in fact connected to aging, in fact, age is the strongest predictor of hearing loss. But that’s where the connection stops, because although age-related hearing loss is irreversible, it’s also highly treatable.
There is a veritable buffet of hearing loss solutions on the market, like hearing aids and even cochlear implants. Today’s tech adds neat capabilities, like speech in noise filtering (amplifying what you want to hear and ignoring what you don’t) and cutting edge AI support.
Hearing Health Impacts Cognitive Health
True. Hearing loss is strongly linked to dementia and other cognitive disorders. Even a mild case of hearing loss can double your risk of a future dementia diagnosis, which is why experts recommend treating hearing loss in order to protect healthy cognitive function.
Our brains are deeply involved in the hearing process and when hearing loss appears, it alters the way and amount of sound information that the brain receives. While experts are working on the exact reason hearing loss and cognitive health are linked, one leading theory suggests that in the absence of full sound information, the brain restructures and reorganizes, leaving it vulnerable to disease.
Investing In Hearing Aids Isn’t Worth It
False. A Johns Hopkins study revealed that people with untreated hearing loss actually end up spending considerably more on healthcare over a ten-year period, versus people with healthy hearing. Opting out of hearing aids could be pennywise and pound foolish, with the untreated hearing loss group spending 46 percent more over a decade (or more than $22,000).
And that’s just the dollars and cents perspective. Can you put a price on better relationships with your family and friends? It’s one of the most reported outcomes from people who’ve chosen to intervene in hearing loss with hearing aids.
You Only Need A Hearing Health Exam When Your Hearing Is Really Bad
False. The best time to diagnose hearing loss is early on, when you have more choices and a better chance of quickly adapting to hearing aids. Most people should receive frequent hearing exams after the age of 50 because the initial onset of symptoms is so subtle that they can be overlooked.
For the record, it’s recommended that people over 18 years of age have their hearing checked every ten years. Folks over 50 should schedule a hearing exam every five years and those over 65 should make an annual exam a priority.
You Can’t Prevent Hearing Loss
True & False. As of today, there is no magic pill to unwind the years and return our body’s cells to their youthful stage. We cannot prevent age-related hearing loss, which depends on so many factors, primarily genetics.
However, we do know that eating a diet rich in vegetables and fruits, abstaining from smoking and excessive drinking and incorporating regular movement and exercise are behaviors that are associated with lower rates of hearing loss.
Beyond that, our ears are also damaged by exposure to excessive noise and it is possible to take precautions that protect the hearing we have right now by engaging in responsible listening practices. Keeping your volumes on personal devices and in the car to halfway, noticing when you’re in loud environments and giving your ears a quiet break or two if you cannot leave and using protection like earplugs or noise-canceling headphones are all ways to limit your exposure to excessively loud noise.
Schedule A Hearing Exam
If you’re like most people, you’re probably due for a hearing health exam. Make an appointment today with our team of highly trained professionals. We’ll lead you through a quick exam to gauge your current hearing health and chart a plan forward for your healthiest hearing future.