Busting a few myths about hearing loss

Hearing loss affects only older people. While one third of the people over 60 have a hearing loss, 65% of all people with hearing loss are below 64 years of age.

With hearing loss becoming increasingly prevalent, we set out to uncover some myths commonly found around the topics of hearing loss, hearing care and hearing aids. Strap on your helmet and let’s dive into a round of solid “mythbusting”.

1. Cleaning my ears with cotton swabs is good for my hearing. Most still hear the voice of their moms telling us to clean our ears with a cotton swap. This can do more harm than good, since there is a risk of the eardrum getting damaged. Contrary to common belief, ear wax actually has a beneficial function: it contains beneficial oils that lubricate and protect the skin of the ear canal. It also traps dust and other particles and keeps them from reaching the sensitive eardrum. If you feel that you have excessive earwax to the point that it affects your hearing, we recommend you to visit a doctor.

2. Hearing loss affects everyone equally. Men are more likely to exhibit hearing loss than women, making up 60% of all hearing impaired. While there are multiple factors, it is often attributed to more exposure to stress, an increased likelihood of noise at work, higher incidence of head injuries.

3.Hearing loss affects only older people. While one third of the people over 60 have a hearing loss, 65% of all people with hearing loss are below 64 years of age.

4. The implications of wearing a hearing aid are worse than not having one. Not following the key part of a discussion, or not being able to laugh at joke for the nth time or having the “what?” and “huh?” as part of your standard vocabulary, make an untreated hearing loss far more apparent than a hearing aid. Isolation and a dent on your self-esteem are only the mild implications; studies have shown that there is a clear correlation between untreated hearing loss and dementia and/or depression. Don’t let vanity get in the way; there are people with far more limelight exposure who have acknowledged and treated their hearing problems.

5. Hearing Aids are massive, bulky and clearly visible. They used to be – a long while ago. Nowadays, hearing aids are tiny  and fit almost invisibly behind the ear or invisible in the ear canal. In fact, you probably haven’t noticed the vast majority of people who wear modern hearing aids.

6. Hearing aids will make everything louder, but not “clearer”. Historically this has been a common concern with older analog devices. However, modern hearing aids have evolved substantially over the last 5 years due to the introduction of digital technology and better signal processing software. This means that noise cancellation algorithms inside the hearing aid are constantly working on filtering out noise and feedback. This is particularly relevant when understanding speech in noisy environments, like for example in a restaurant.

7. Hearing loss affects only a small proportion of the population. Really? Think again. Hearing loss is the 3rd most prevalent condition after cardiovascular disease and arthritis. It affects approximately 1 in 9 people.

8. Hearing loss is unavoidable, it’s partly genetics and everyone eventually gets it That’s a pretty fatalistic view. While heritage can play a role, there are a lot of things you can do to delay hearing loss or avoid it altogether. You can start by protecting your ears from continuous exposure to loud sounds, altering your diet, quitting smoking and generally leading a more balanced life.