Misconceptions about hearing instruments and hearing loss are common, and they can create tension between family members and friends. Hearing instrument-wearers know these misconceptions well, as they often have to educate others who say something incorrect (or downright offensive).
Take a look at these 10 facts people with hearing instruments wish everyone knew:
1. Talking loudly isn’t necessary
Shouting, or speaking loudly, does not enhance a hearing instruments-wearer’s ability to hear. Hearing instruments are calibrated for normal speaking volume, so loud speech may be distorted and difficult to understand.
2. Speech volume may be difficult to modulate
People with hearing instruments – especially those wearing hearing instruments for the first time – may have trouble determining the volume level of their own speech.
3. Conversation can be exhausting
People who have perfect hearing don’t have to exert effort to hear and understand others during a typical conversation. But for people with hearing loss, conversations require effort and concentration. Long conversations, trying to communicate with more than one person at the same time, or trying to have a conversation in a noisy environment can be exhausting for people with hearing difficulties.
4. Visual cues are important
Communication isn’t just speech and hearing. Gestures, facial expressions, and lip movements help people with hearing loss understand what you’re saying, and the context in which you’re speaking.
5. Hearing instruments aren’t just for “old” people
People of any age may experience hearing loss.
6. Some hearing instruments can be adjusted with a smartphone
People with hearing instruments who are looking at their smartphones might not be texting or looking at social media – they could be adjusting their hearing instrument settings.
7. Ask about communication preferences
Many people with hearing loss have difficulty with telephone conversations. They may prefer text messages or emails.
8. Don’t assume the worst
People with hearing loss are sometimes incorrectly perceived as rude, if they don’t respond to what someone is saying. Usually, that lack of response is because they didn’t hear what was said.
9. Not all hearing instruments are visible
People may be unaware that the person they’re talking to has hearing loss, if that person wears hearing instruments that fit completely inside the ear canal.
10. Hearing instruments don’t “cure” hearing loss
Just as eyeglasses don’t restore 20/20 vision, hearing instruments don’t completely restore “normal” hearing.
Hearing loss is more prevalent than most people realize (and some people don’t recognize their own hearing loss, because they’ve never had their hearing evaluated). Learn more about what is involved in a hearing evaluation on the Lowe Audiology Hearing Test page.