If an individual has hearing loss ranging from mild to severe, we can classify them as ‘hard of hearing.’ Generally speaking, however, the term refers to individuals with hearing loss on the more severe end of the spectrum, but who are not quite deaf. In other words, they still have some ability to hear, but not quite as well as others. Just as with deafness, there are quite a few misconceptions about the hard of hearing. We’d like to clarify some of those points today.
Hearing Aids Can Fix Their Hearing Loss
There’s no doubt about it—science has come a long way in assisting the hard of hearing, and hearing aids are one of its crowning achievements. But don’t make the mistake of assuming that hearing aids can restore their hearing loss.
Hearing loss results as a result of damage to hair cells in the inner ear. Hearing aids cannot fix this. What they can do, however, is amplify sounds and make it easier for the hard of hearing to hear.
Think of them like glasses. If you wear glasses, do they fix your vision? Not quite. But they do provide a temporary solution. But if vision loss is total and an individual qualifies as blind, they won’t make a difference. The same applies to hearing aids and the hard of hearing.
The Hard of Hearing Rely on Lip-Reading
You may have heard it before: the hard of hearing can read lips. This is partially true, but it’s also misleading.
Yes, lip-reading can assist the hard of hearing with understanding what others are saying. Chances are that you rely on lip-reading to some extent as well. In these days of ubiquitous mask-wearing, you may have found it harder to understand what people say. This is partially because you can’t see their lip movement to fill in the gaps of what you can’t make out.
Still, you should keep in mind that lip reading isn’t an exact science, and no one is so great at it that they can pick up on every spoken word. It can help, but don’t expect the hard of hearing to be able to comprehend you completely just by reading your lips.
Only Old People are Hard of Hearing
Another one of the most harmful misconceptions about the hard of hearing is the notion that they are always elderly. This is far from the truth.
Hearing loss among children is exceptionally common. Studies have shown that as many as 15% of children have some form of hearing loss. This is due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. A fraction of these children may qualify as hard of hearing.
Stereotypes are, in general, harmful. This is just as true with the hard of hearing. We hope you can keep in mind what you’ve learned from us today, and go on to challenge these misconceptions when you hear them next.
Contact Bay Area Audiology Today
Ready to change the way you look at hearing loss? Our Doctor of Audiology, Dr. Trisha A. Bents Muth, is exceptionally experienced in the art of audiology and is dedicated to providing the absolute best solutions. Bay Area Audiology has been working to give patients a comfortable environment with thorough evaluations. We are independently owned, and unbiased when it comes to finding you the care you need.
You can always come into the office or contact us in advance to set up an appointment. We also provide updates on our social media websites. You can check out our Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest to keep up with Bay Area Audiology.
Don’t hesitate–we can help.