Hearing loss affects almost 20% of adults in Canada. In fact, this prevalence becomes much higher in seniors, affecting a whopping 78% of those between 60 to 79 years of age (Statistics Canada, 2016)!
Knowing these facts, why do only a fraction of these people seek help for their hearing loss?
Unfortunately, there are many myths and misinformation about audiology that may prevent people from pursuing treatment.
In this series, we will debunk some myths around hearing loss to paint a more accurate picture of the condition. We will have a new post every 2 weeks for this series.
Myth #1 : I can still hear you so how can I have a hearing loss?
Hearing loss (particularly from older age) develops slowly so the person will not notice drastic declines in hearing. Furthermore, hearing loss may only affect the sensitivity to certain pitches so although the person can still “hear”, it may sound muffled or quieter compared to normal hearing. In noisy environments, the background noise and speech may be audible but difficult to separate, making it harder to understand the speech. In these cases, the person may still be able to cope by using more brainpower (cognitive resources) to pay attention and guess during conversations. However, this is taxing to the brain; when more brainpower is used for listening, less will be available for other functions like memory and reasoning.
When the person cannot hear anymore, it will be too late to use hearing aids. Hearing aids amplify sounds so individuals must still have residual hearing to use them.
Hopefully this post has been informative and be sure to keep an ear out for the next one!