Hearing loss is one of the most under treated health issues for American adults today. According to the Center for Hearing and Communication, 48 million Americans have a significant hearing loss, yet only 16% of physicians screen for hearing loss.
With so few doctors actively screening for hearing health, it’s up to us to be our own best hearing advocate. If our eyesight starts to diminish, we get glasses or contacts. Why aren’t we as protective of our hearing as we are about our eyesight?
Some of the barriers to treatment are rooted in the myths that surround the use of hearing aids. Like most myths, hearing aid myths are often unfounded and ultimately prevent us from seeking available treatments aimed at maintaining our best hearing.
Here are 4 common misconceptions about hearing aids:
- I can’t afford hearing aids. Price can be the biggest impediment to seeking treatment for hearing loss and it is true that insurance coverage in this area is shockingly lacking. Some plans cover a hearing evaluation and, sometimes, a portion of the hearing aid. If your plan does not, then work with your hearing healthcare provider to find the right price point for you. Many hearing practitioners offer monthly payment plans and may know of local and national resources you can use to offset the cost. Finally, remember that hearing aids are an investment in your overall health. With recent research pointing to links between hearing loss and cognitive decline, you can’t afford not to protect your hearing.
- Hearing aids are only for severe hearing loss. We have heard this all of our lives – prevention is key. If you’re experiencing mild hearing loss, or if your ears have been exposed to noise trauma, get a hearing test with a qualified professional. When the brain has to process degraded noise signals, it must work harder which some researchers believe may negatively impact memory and other cognitive functions. Even mild hearing loss interferes with the quality of the signals the brain must decipher. If you were told that you have the beginning of high blood pressure or diabetes, you would act. Do the same for your hearing.
- I only need one hearing aid. Chances are that if you’re experiencing hearing loss, it’s probably already worse than you think in both ears. The other thing to consider is that both ears and the brain work together to receive and process sound in a system called binaural hearing. Cues from both ears help the brain determine how to process the sound information, origin and direction. You can ride a bike with one deflated tire and one good tire, but you’re not getting the optimal ride.
- Hearing aids are for old people. Hearing aids are a tool to restore and maintain hearing, regardless of age. While hearing loss does impact more older Americans, it often starts decades earlier. Our super-noisy world, coupled with our love of ear buds, is contributing to hearing loss in younger populations. Ultimately, though, it doesn’t matter how old you are. If you are experiencing hearing loss, seek treatment.
Routine hearing evaluations are the best way to maintain good hearing health. Schedule an appointment today for a consultation and to learn the facts about hearing aids.