Hearing

Ben Squires

7 myths about hard of hearing people that aren’t true

7 myths about hard of hearing people that aren’t true

Hearing loss can be a misunderstood condition which can be very frustrating – not to mention upsetting – for sufferers. To this end, there are plenty of misconceptions and half-truths that circulate about hearing difficulties and what they can mean. Separating the fact from the fiction can both educate and reassure sufferers and the general population.

1. Those suffering hearing loss are less intelligent

This is a deeply ingrained and long held myth with no actual scientific backing. Those who are hard of hearing are no more or less intelligent than those who have perfect hearing. In both groups there will be those who are gifted, those who are average and those who may struggle intellectually. It has nothing to do with the hearing component

2. Hearing aids create perfect hearing

Hearing aids are a fantastic piece of technology and work to improve hearing, typically reducing the hearing loss itself by half but cannot bring it back to normal.

3. Hard of hearing people have selective hearing and could hear if they really wanted to

While hearing loss often means that you do hear selectively, it has nothing to with choice and everything to do with the different frequencies of sounds, some of which are easier to hear than others.

4. Only older people suffer hearing loss

Excessive noise exposure, medication and infection can all cause hearing loss regardless of age.

5. Those who have hearing loss are perfect lip readers

While lip reading is a valuable skill, it is far from a perfect science. Only around 30 per cent of English sounds can be easily read on a person’s lips, leaving the remaining 70 per cent of sounds to be guessed.

6. Raising your voice very loudly helps people to hear

While raising your voice slightly can help someone who is struggling to hear you, shouting is not going to make a big difference. What does make a difference is facing the person and speaking slowly and clearly

7. Hard of hearing people all use sign language

While this is the case for some people, less than 1 per cent of the approximate 70 million people who suffer hearing loss know how to sign. Other hearing aids and resources are often far better than sign language.

Related links:

Gene therapy breakthrough for treatment of hearing loss

What you should tell loved ones about your hearing loss

What people did before hearing aids