Age old stigmas and myths about hearing loss that don't go away

Posted by Julie, Volunteer Mentor @julieo4, Feb 1, 2021

There is a great deal of misunderstanding about hearing loss. Stigmas and myths abound. Let's talk about it. What are your thoughts on this topic?

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Hearing Loss group.

@barbb

How I would love to see a photo of your black horn. I remember well my grandmother having one of those!

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I'll have to see if I can find it. Know it's in the basement with a ton of other stuff I've vowed to go through. 🙂

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Every thing you are not supposed to do to a hearing impaired person, I am guilty of! My husband is severely impaired from Vietnam noise exposure, and his highs are gone. I have been in the hearing industry for 40 years, have opened 4 clinics myself, worked for ENTs, been VP of a large HA Mfg, so I should know better! I forget that his understanding of speech on his audiogram, with aids in, is only 60%. I should always speak so he can see me because 20% of a person's understanding of speech comes from sight. He is not going to do better than 60%, but with vision, he does pretty well. Also loudness is not clarity! Turn up the TV – up goes the music and special affects which interferes with speech. We have a TV box that connects thru bluetooth to his hearing aids and he hears better than I do! However, adjustments are important, and as we age the hearing instrument adjustments can help because with new technology come improvements that can be dumped into your current aids and upgraded. Makes it easier to get to the speech but the scores don't usually improve, but it is less exhausting for the hearing impaired person who has to concentrate so hard. Hope this helps, Gina

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My personal experience with my #1 pet peeve is for the first 2 years my husband and I were married, he would walk away still talking or just starting to make a comment or something. Even though I repeatedly asked him not to. So, finally my brain kicked into "how do I stop this?" I waited until he was down the hall or away enough so he could still hear me but not know what I said, and I said "mphfff, tsworly", ughmrp". Mumble mumble, loudly. (actually, I put my hands over my mouth and said "Kmart blue light special" because I remembered so many times they would get on the microphone and start out with that in the store but I couldn't understand the rest of it!) He turned around, came back, said "what?". I said "exactly". That's what I get when you walk away talking! It did not happen again!

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@earscan

Every thing you are not supposed to do to a hearing impaired person, I am guilty of! My husband is severely impaired from Vietnam noise exposure, and his highs are gone. I have been in the hearing industry for 40 years, have opened 4 clinics myself, worked for ENTs, been VP of a large HA Mfg, so I should know better! I forget that his understanding of speech on his audiogram, with aids in, is only 60%. I should always speak so he can see me because 20% of a person's understanding of speech comes from sight. He is not going to do better than 60%, but with vision, he does pretty well. Also loudness is not clarity! Turn up the TV – up goes the music and special affects which interferes with speech. We have a TV box that connects thru bluetooth to his hearing aids and he hears better than I do! However, adjustments are important, and as we age the hearing instrument adjustments can help because with new technology come improvements that can be dumped into your current aids and upgraded. Makes it easier to get to the speech but the scores don't usually improve, but it is less exhausting for the hearing impaired person who has to concentrate so hard. Hope this helps, Gina

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Sounds like my husband. He’s lost highs and lows, has severe tinnitus, and used his sight to process much of speech. We have to be in the same room in order to have a conversation otherwise it is mere noise to him.

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@th1

My personal experience with my #1 pet peeve is for the first 2 years my husband and I were married, he would walk away still talking or just starting to make a comment or something. Even though I repeatedly asked him not to. So, finally my brain kicked into "how do I stop this?" I waited until he was down the hall or away enough so he could still hear me but not know what I said, and I said "mphfff, tsworly", ughmrp". Mumble mumble, loudly. (actually, I put my hands over my mouth and said "Kmart blue light special" because I remembered so many times they would get on the microphone and start out with that in the store but I couldn't understand the rest of it!) He turned around, came back, said "what?". I said "exactly". That's what I get when you walk away talking! It did not happen again!

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Oh classic! Maybe I should do that! My husband talks to me from another room or should I say scolds? Pet peeve! Of course I can’t answer because he can’t understand me.
And I can’t easily join him to return the favor because I’m disabled and mobility is not a strong suit due to severe pain and he KNOWS IT!

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@th1

My personal experience with my #1 pet peeve is for the first 2 years my husband and I were married, he would walk away still talking or just starting to make a comment or something. Even though I repeatedly asked him not to. So, finally my brain kicked into "how do I stop this?" I waited until he was down the hall or away enough so he could still hear me but not know what I said, and I said "mphfff, tsworly", ughmrp". Mumble mumble, loudly. (actually, I put my hands over my mouth and said "Kmart blue light special" because I remembered so many times they would get on the microphone and start out with that in the store but I couldn't understand the rest of it!) He turned around, came back, said "what?". I said "exactly". That's what I get when you walk away talking! It did not happen again!

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It's unfortunate that hearing aid providers don't have time to hold orientation programs for both the person with hearing loss and their significant others. It's a time thing. Hearing loss is frustrating for us and for everyone with whom we associate. It's so important for us to be able to share our feelings and explain, clearly, what we need to make communication work. Once again, I point out how important it is to understand what is needed, and to also understand how fatiguing it is for a person with hearing loss to have to be on high alert at all times in order to participate in conversation.

HLAA provides a lot of support through its chapters. Learning you are not alone is a huge booster. Having your feelings of fear and frustration validated helps a great deal. Coming together to talk about 'it' in a communication accessible environment is extremely helpful. It also helps if our significant others will join us so they learn they are not alone with this either. Effective coping strategies don't come easy, but we can learn so much from each other.

Unfortunately, most HLAA chapters are not currently meeting in person due to COVID, but many are holding meetings via videoconferencing that can be attended by anyone. There is a lot of information on the HLAA website. If you're new to hearing loss, take time to explore the site. If you find there is a chapter in your geographical region, contact them. Being proactive about your hearing loss issues is so important. http://www.hearingloss.org

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@faithwalker007

Sounds like my husband. He’s lost highs and lows, has severe tinnitus, and used his sight to process much of speech. We have to be in the same room in order to have a conversation otherwise it is mere noise to him.

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That's exactly what it is; noise. Our family members need to learn coping skills too.

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Extended especially. That’s the hard ones to teach

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I had a patient who came to see my for new instruments. After fitting him and counseling him, a few months later, he returned for a checkup. I asked if he was hearing better. He said, and I quote: "Yes, and you know what, I've changed my will 5 times now!" Loved that he had such a good sense of humor because after you get your new aids, people still yell at you or talk around you.

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@earscan

I had a patient who came to see my for new instruments. After fitting him and counseling him, a few months later, he returned for a checkup. I asked if he was hearing better. He said, and I quote: "Yes, and you know what, I've changed my will 5 times now!" Loved that he had such a good sense of humor because after you get your new aids, people still yell at you or talk around you.

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Lol old habits die hard. But are easily resurrected.

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Yes they do. People think hearing aids will give a person '20/20' hearing. We can blame a lot of the advertising of these consumer products for that.

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Gina/earscan: Thanks for posting all the great info about hearing aid manufacturers and other names for their brands! You offer lots of great info! I've seen lots of posts about the frustration of SSHL: although I've only had useful hearing in one ear for decades, I never considered that a serious problem, probably because the real killer (for me) with Meniere's were the V&V crises 2-3 times a week for the first four years. Once I got them under control, I felt so freed up that I didn't even think about the fact that I had ceased to participate in musical ensembles and orchestras and in fact wasn't able to even listen to music because so much was missing. So, it's a wake-up call to see all the posts about SSHL! Now that the disease has gone bilateral (and I've managed to thrust the monster back into the damned closet by taking mega doses of hormones long enough to end V&V and regain some hearing in my good ear, I'm able to function fairly well in spite of masks, which do make things difficult. Although a Cros aid was suggested to me nearly 40 years ago, I never felt that I needed it enough to spend the big bucks. I now use one Costco Bernefon (Oticon) aid in my good ear. Perhaps I've just gotten used to hearing on one side only!

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