In May, many hearing professionals and organizations around the world raise awareness about hearing loss and promote screening and treatment. In the second of our blogs to raise awareness about hearing loss we look at the myths and tips on how to protect your hearing.
Deaf and hard of hearing individuals don’t just miss words here and there but rather they miss sounds in many words making everyday communication difficult. For adults, while hearing loss is sometimes sudden, it is often gradual and it may not be noticeable at first. If you suspect you may have a hearing loss or that your child has a hearing loss, contact your primary care physician. He or she can refer you to an audiologist to have a comprehensive hearing test.
Myths about hearing loss:
- Hearing aids can restore normal hearing
While hearing aids can be a great help to many people who are deaf or hard of hearing, they cannot restore normal hearing.
- Hearing loss only affects older people
At age 65, one out of three people has a hearing loss. Hearing loss affects all age groups and population based studies show that 32 million children around the world have a disabling hearing loss.
- If I shout then the hearing impaired person will hear me
It is never a good idea to shout at someone who is hard of hearing. When people shout their voice becomes distorted. This makes it even harder for the hearing impaired person to understand. It is better to speak slowly and clearly with more lip movement.
- Hearing aids will make me look older
There is an array of hearing aid styles that are available. These range from in the ear canal to discrete devices that fit behind the ear that come in a variety of colors. Smiling and nodding your head when you don’t understand what’s being said, can make a hearing loss much more apparent than a hearing aid. In fact a growing body of research shows that there seems to be a strong association between hearing loss and dementia.
How to protect your hearing, do’s and don’ts
Do use ear protection equipment such as ear muffs or ear plugs if you work in a noisy environment or at home. The louder the noise and the longer you’re exposed to it, the greater the chance of damaging your hearing.
Don’t have your television, radio or music turned up too loudly.
If you need to raise your voice to be heard above the sound, then it is too loud.
Do use ear-protection equipment at music festivals
Noise levels can reach 110 decibels or more at these festivals which can cause permanent damage to your ears. This is similar to standing next to a jackhammer drilling into concrete. Earplugs can reduce the average sound levels by between 15 and 35 decibels yet still allow you to enjoy the music.
Don’t insert objects into your ears or your children’s ears as these can damage the ear.
Do use noise-cancelling headphones when listening to your personal music player.
These block out background noise better and allow you to have the volume set at a lower level. In-the-ear headphones are less effective at reducing background noise.
Do remember to take breaks from your headphones and give your ears a rest.