7 Myths of Hearing Loss
Posted October 16, 2022 by Anusha ‐ 4 min read
Misconceptions about people with hearing loss are commonplace some are antiquated stereotypes, while others just incorrect assumptions. It’s easy enough to get the wrong idea, as hearing loss can be an invisible disability unlike the wheelchair that signals a mobility challenge.
Myth: People with hearing loss are stupid,mute and unsuccesful.
People with hearing loss have the same range of intelligence as the general hearing population.
People with untreated, or inadequately treated, hearing loss may respond in appropriately since they may not have heard what was said.
Some people with hearing loss can speak and others cannot; again, there are many factors at play.
A person who speaks well doesn’t necessarily hear well.
And it can be frustrating or upsetting when others remark on how well they speak and even more so if the remark is directed to a bystander, rather than directly to the person with hearing loss.
People with hearing loss are fully employable but may need certain accommodations for effective communication, as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act.
It is always best to ask the person what type of accommodation is needed.
Myth: People with hearing loss are rude and pushy.
If a person with hearing loss interrupts a conversation, it is probably because they didn’t hear the speaker, not because they are rude.
People with hearing loss may position themselves toward the front of a group or in a room so that they are closer to the speaker, making it easier for them to hear and lip read.
This behavior is sometimes incorrectly interpreted as pushiness.
Myth: Everyone with hearing loss uses sign language and read lips.
Hearing loss spans across a spectrum from mild to completely deaf and not all people with hearing loss communicate the same way.
Communication depends on a variety of factors, such as the degree of hearing loss, whether a hearing aid or cochlear implant is used, the age at which the person lost his hearing, the level of auditory training received, and the nature of the listening situation.
The majority of people with hearing loss do not use sign language but it is still important to those whose communication depends on it.
American Sign Language is a visual language with its own syntax and grammar that is quite different from spoken and written English.
Sign language varies by country as well.
A person with some knowledge of sign language is not a substitute for a qualified interpreter who is trained to transmit what is said clearly and accurately.
Myth: Talking louder will help a person with hearing loss to understand.
Increasing the volume is only part of the solution; clarity is also important.
And there is a point where increasing the volume begins to distort the quality of sound.
To obtain sufficient clarity, people with residual hearing may require sound to be transmitted from a microphone directly to their ear via an assistive listening system.
Sitting close to the speaker can assist the listener (it facilitates lip reading) but is not a substitute for an assistive listening system.
Yelling and over-articulating does not help because these distort the natural rhythm of speech and make lip reading more difficult.
A person who can hear normally cannot determine whether the sound is adequate for a person with hearing loss.
Myth: People with hearing loss mostly hang out with other people with hearing loss.
Hearing loss can affect anyone and does not discriminate.
People with hearing loss spend time with family or friends who may or may not have hearing loss.
They do not want to be relegated to special seats away from the rest of the people they are with.
Myth: Everyone who needs an assistive listening system can use earbuds or headphones.
Earbuds and earbud-style headsets require people with hearing aids to remove their hearing aids.
Headsets typically do not work for people who wear behind-the-ear hearing aids nor for many people who have more than mild hearing loss because the sound output is insufficient.
People who have cochlear implants or T-coils in their hearing aids can receive signals directly through their hearing aid or cochlear implant when an induction loop is used.
They can also access FM or infrared signals directly to their hearing aid or sound processor by using a neck loop receiver or an attachment (boot) to their aid or sound processor.
The neck loop can be plugged into headphones but most one-piece headphones lack jacks.