An alarming statistic published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) notes that almost a third of adults over the age of 50 could be going about their business with undiagnosed hearing loss. Since nearly 110 million Americans are over 50, this means that about 37 million people are living a lower quality of life than they might enjoy if they took advantage of better hearing care. My greatest concern is that individuals in the Permian Basin community face these statistics, and they are not receiving the help they need.
Why aren’t people seeking help?
Several misunderstandings or myths often contribute to the reasons behind why people over 50 don’t seek help. To provide clarity, we’ve listed four of the most common myths along with the reality related to a failure to seek help for hearing loss.
MYTH #1: My hearing loss doesn’t really bother anybody.
REALITY: The person most harmed by hearing loss is you. Mental health issues like depression, anxiety, and isolation often result from untreated hearing loss. Hearing loss can increase your risk of various physical health issues. It strains relationships at home and works as you become more dependent on friends and family to assist in communication, further complicating your life.
These effects can be limited through early detection and treatment.
MYTH #2: I would know it if I really had a hearing problem.
REALITY: Have you ever actually seen paint dry? You know when it is wet and when it is dry, but you can’t see it drying. Like drying paint, hearing loss comes on slowly and goes unnoticed until it becomes a problem. In fact, family and friends typically identify the problem before the person struggling with hearing loss.
Hearing tests provide audiologists with the information necessary to identify something that you cannot. Schedule a hearing test before hearing loss becomes a debilitating issue.
MYTH #3: Just turn up the volume if you can’t hear.
REALITY: Loudness is among the issues associated with hearing loss, but the majority of issues relate to problems with hearing clarity. Amplifying distorted Hearing only reproduces the distortion at a higher volume.
Difficulty hearing when there is background noise indicates your reduced capacity to sort out close and far away sounds. The inability to distinguish one consonant from another contributes to misunderstanding conversations. Struggling to understand during a phone conversation or when speaking to women or children indicates that high-frequency sounds are not being processed properly.
An audiologist can identify all these issues that can help you hear more clearly at normal volume levels with proper treatment.
MYTH #4: Hearing tests don’t provide any useful information.
REALITY: One of the reasons you don’t recognize that you are losing your Hearing has to do with the fact that your brain adapts and compensates as your capacity to process sound deteriorates.
Hearing tests reveal the cause and extent of your hearing loss using proven techniques. Audiologists customize hearing aids or assistive listening devices to meet your specific needs from the data gathered during a hearing test. Even if your test result shows normal Hearing, regular hearing tests provide audiologists with a baseline against which to measure future changes.
A hearing assessment with an audiologist is an excellent opportunity to learn about preventative measures like hearing protection and the use of ototoxic medications, which damage your Hearing.
All About Hearing Encourages Regular Hearing Tests
Because hearing loss is so prevalent in individuals over the age of fifty, it is best to schedule a hearing assessment whether you believe you are experiencing hearing loss or not. All About Hearing encourages Permian Basin residents to schedule regular hearing tests to help identify and treat a hearing loss before it becomes a significant issue. Contact us to schedule a comprehensive hearing assessment online or give us a call at 432-689-2220 for help, questions, or support.