Trouble hearing? It’s easier to blame noisy restaurants or workplaces, to think that “everyone mumbles”, or that your granddaughter has a very soft voice.
In fact, hearing loss typically happens to us very slowly, over a long time, so it’s easy to miss. And it’s more common than you might think.
You’re not alone!
The latest available statistics show that over 10% of the U.S. population reports difficulty hearing. That’s more than 31 million people! And as the Baby Boomer generation continues to age, that number promises to increase dramatically.
48 million Americans of all ages experience hearing loss, including one in six baby boomers. Hearing loss can be caused by exposure to noise, diabetes or other factors, but most often it’s simply a result of aging.
While you can’t stop aging—yet—you can treat hearing loss. The good news is that most hearing loss is mild and treatable. There is no reason to tough it out or to be left out when you could easily be getting more out of life.
With the right hearing treatment plan and hearing aid, you’ll be able to turn up the volume on everything. You can stop asking people to repeat themselves. You can turn down the TV so the neighbors on the next block aren’t hearing it, too. With treatment, you’ll be able to stay involved in all the activities you enjoy and live life to its fullest again.
How We Hear
How do your ear and brain work together to help you hear? Hearing begins when sound waves enter your outer ear (you know, the visible portion of the ear located on the outside of the head) and are channeled down your auditory canal, a tube-like passageway lined with tiny hairs and small glands that produce earwax.
At the end of your auditory canal lies the middle ear, which is composed of the eardrum and three small bones, often referred to as the hammer, the anvil and the stirrup. Which sounds like things you might find at the town forge but stick with us here.
When sound waves hit your eardrum, it vibrates and, in turn, moves the bone shaped like a hammer. The hammer then moves the anvil, which moves the stirrup, transmitting the vibrations into your inner ear. The middle ear functions to amplify sound, which is why significant hearing loss can result from any disruption in any of its parts.
Hair cells can be damaged by use of ototoxic drugs, disease and simply aging. And once these hair cells are gone, you can’t use Rogaine to make them come back. Hearing aids can be used to compensate.
All the parts described above create a system which enables you to hear clearly. If you’re experiencing hearing loss, we can determine what’s not working as well as it should be. Then we’ll explain your options to you and help you choose the best solution for your hearing needs and your lifestyle.
9 Myths About Hearing Loss
Over the last few decades there have been huge advances in both our understanding of hearing loss and the technology used to solve hearing problems. Unfortunately, most peoples’ assumptions about their hearing are outdated or plain wrong.
Before you put off treatment for another day, discover the truth about hearing loss.
MYTH 1: I’d know if I had hearing loss.
Remember that people without hearing loss don’t need to convince others that “I can hear just fine!” If you’ve been told that you need a hearing test, it’s time to get one.
MYTH 2: It’s not worth the trouble to improve my hearing.
MYTH 3: It doesn’t matter if I put off getting hearing aids.
MYTH 4: If you’re hearing impaired, it’s just a matter of turning up the volume.
The right way to turn up the volume is with the use of professionally programmed hearing aids, so that you don’t have to turn up the volume on everyone else. Keep in mind that people resent being burdened when they know that someone could just as easily help themselves.
MYTH 5: Hearing aids won’t work for me.
On the other hand, if you work with your hearing specialist to find the right hearing aid, programmed for your specific hearing loss, fit and adjusted to your lifestyle, your hearing aids will almost certainly help you hear better.
MYTH 6: Hearing aids are ugly.
MYTH 7: Hearing aids will make me look – and feel – old.
MYTH 8: I can save money by just getting one hearing aid
Fact: You can save money by buying just one hearing aid or just one shoe, but we wouldn’t recommend that either. There’s a reason you have two ears; you use them both to locate the source of sounds, to maintain balance, and to hear sound clearly regardless of the direction it’s coming from. If you have hearing loss in both ears, you need two hearing aids.
MYTH 9: Hearing aids are expensive
Hearing clearly is part of staying healthy, happy and active. How much is that worth to you? The hearing specialists at Austin Ear Clinic will recommend the hearing aid options that best match your hearing needs, your lifestyle and your budget.