No Shame in Hearing Loss

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No matter your age, hearing loss can affect anyone; it has no boundaries when it comes to gender, race or ethnicity either. In fact, it’s an equal opportunity challenge!

The Hearing Loss Association of America estimates that about 20 percent of Americans are impacted to some degree. There are four levels of impact based on the level of your loss from mild to profound. A decibel (dB) refers to the intensity of a sound or noise. It can also be the electrical signal of a power level. When it comes to hearing, the standard dB range is negative ten to 15.

 Causes of Hearing Loss

  • One common cause of hearing loss is noise, and we live in a very noisy world! We tend to play loud music and use ear buds, which raise the dB rating anywhere from six to nine decibels. Think of all the loud noises surrounding us every day.
  • Another cause could be that the loss was created as the result of an illness or infection, a head injury and it can also be inherited.
  • Yes, our hearing will probably worsen with age, and it can start in our 30s and 40s. The loss has a good chance of worsening significantly by the time we reach our 80s.

Stigmas

Behind arthritis and heart disease, hearing loss is among the most common public health conditions. And by the age of 65, one in three of us will experience a hearing loss. The correlation between age and hearing cannot be denied, and as we all know, there can be a stigma attached to the use of hearing aids.

It may help you to know that this sad shame originated in our history because people who had hearing loss appeared out of place and “stupid” because they were viewed as being unable to learn. Unfortunately, at the time they were often feared, scorned, and distanced from “normal” individuals. Still, today sufferers of hearing loss may have low self-esteem and will isolate themselves to avoid adverse perceptions. Fear not friends; we can help you combat stigmas, which are utterly unfounded.

Confessing

If you have a hearing impairment that you have not accepted, it’s time to face the facts. Please have your hearing tested to identify the degree of loss and then consider your options. We know how you feel and understand your hesitancy to accept a diagnosis. Please allow these suggestions to encourage you to take the next step.

  • Communicate! Friends and family members may have already noticed something different and will feel relieved that you are also aware and willing to take corrective actions. Confession is indeed good for the soul; you have nothing to hide.
  • If you want, invite a friend to see the audiologist with you so they can improve their understanding of hearing loss and its impacts.
  • Tell friends how they can help you make the transition easier. If you are trying to talk in a noisy environment, ask them to relocate the meeting if that is possible. A quieter spot will allow both of you to communicate more clearly.
    • They can use their hands in an expressive way that will provide a visual cue to you that is easily translated.
    • It will also help if they look directly at your while they are speaking. By just turning their heads during a conversation, it’s surprising how that lowers the volume for the listener.
  • Thanks to continuing technological advances, hearing aids today are barely noticeable, and in general, society has a far better understanding of hearing loss and many can relate to the problem.

We hope your concluding thoughts mirror ours. When you fail to use a hearing aid and one is needed; you risk being perceived as rude and distant. You can easily avoid the risk by recognizing and accepting the fact that you need a little help. People will understand your condition, accept it and be willing to do whatever they can to be helpful. You will likely hear “I’m so glad you told me, I have the same problem.”