10 Mistaken Ideas People Have About Hearing LossAudiology by Accent
Many people have mistaken beliefs about people who have hearing loss. Because it can be invisible to others, hearing loss is not as easily recognizable as a disability to others in the way that mobility difficulties are. Clarifying misconceptions about hearing loss can help to reduce the stigma that people experience and lead to greater acceptance and understanding. Here are 10 of the most common misconceptions that many people have about what it means to have a hearing loss or to be deaf.
1. All deaf or hard-of-hearing people can read lips or understand sign language.
Not everyone who has hearing loss communicates the same way. Hearing losses can range from mild to severe and can happen over time or early in life. Some people are born with deafness in one or both ears. When children have severe hearing loss or are deaf, they may be taught to read lips and to use sign language. Older people may not have learned to read lips or to use sign language.
Whether someone will understand how to use sign language or read lips will depend on whether he or she has a cochlear implant, how old he or she was when the hearing loss occurred, the severity of the hearing loss, and the amount of training he or she has received. Most hearing-impaired people do not use sign language, but it is still important for those who rely on it to communicate.
2. Speaking louder helps hearing-impaired people to understand better.
If you talk louder, it may not be enough. The clarity of your speech is also important. When you increase the loudness of your speech, the sound is also distorted. People who have residual hearing may instead need to have sound transmitted through a microphone directly into their ears instead of having others speak louder. Sitting closer to a hearing-impaired person can help but cannot substitute for hearing aids or cochlear implants.
3. Hearing aids or cochlear implants will fully restore a hearing-impaired person’s hearing.
While hearing aids and cochlear implants are beneficial for hearing-impaired people, they do not fully restore their hearing. Instead, these devices are similar to eyeglasses for someone who has vision impairments.
Hearing aids help to increase clarity by increasing the volume of certain frequencies. The improvements from cochlear implants can range from an increased awareness of environmental sound to near-normal hearing, depending on the onset and length of deafness and the person’s age when he or she received the cochlear implants.
4. Hearing-impaired people are less intelligent.
Hearing-impaired people have the same ranges of intelligence as the rest of the population. Those who have not received appropriate treatment for their hearing loss may respond in inappropriate ways because of not being able to hear what others say, however.
Some hearing-impaired people can speak while others cannot. Just because someone can speak well does not necessarily mean that he or she can hear well. Hearing-impaired people might need certain accommodations at their jobs to help them communicate but are just as intelligent and employable as anyone else.
5. Older people are more likely to suffer hearing loss.
An estimated 48 million people in the U.S. have some form of hearing loss. Out of those with hearing loss, two-thirds are younger than age 65.
6. Hearing-impaired people are defined by their hearing loss.
People are not defined by a single characteristic like hearing loss. Just because someone is hearing-impaired does not mean that his or her other attributes should be disregarded. You should always list the person first before referring to his or her hearing loss.
7. It is embarrassing to have a hearing impairment.
There is nothing to be ashamed of for having hearing loss. Unfortunately, many people who suffer from hearing loss avoid using or purchasing hearing aids. Only 20% of people who could benefit from hearing aids actually wear them.
8. You should just move on when a hearing-impaired person misses something in conversation.
It is very frustrating to a person with hearing loss to have others refuse to repeat themselves when the person misses something that was said. Take the time to repeat what was missed so that the person can understand what is happening.
9. People who have hearing loss are rude.
People who have hearing loss might interrupt others simply because they did not hear the person speaking instead of because they are rude. You should not think someone is rude simply because they try to be in the front of a group or position themselves to be closer to a speaker. These types of actions are not rude and are instead simply things that help them to hear.
10. Hearing access is unneeded and is too expensive.
Most people who have hearing loss are used to having no accommodations and will not ask about access unless the option is publicized. If you publicize hearing access, it will likely be used. It is also much more affordable than you might think.
Talk to Audiology by Accent
If you find that you do not hear as well as you used to, it may be time to see a professional at Audiology by Accent in Gainesville, Florida. Call us today to schedule an appointment at 352-271-5373.