Hearing Basics

Hearing Basics


Communication, socialization and feelings of well-being are strongly dependent on the sense of hearing. As a major sensory deficit, hearing loss contributes negatively to the quality of life.

When we address hearing health issues, we positively impact quality of life.

According to the National Council on Aging (NCOA), treatment with hearing instruments relates to:

  • Improved personal relationship
  • Enhanced group social activity
  • Reduced anger and frustration
  • Reduced depression and depressive symptoms
  • Improved emotional stability
  • Reduced introverted behavior
  • Reduced hearing loss compensation behaviors
  • Reduced discriminatory behaviors toward the person with hearing loss
  • Enhanced belief that you are in control of your life
  • Reduced paranoid feelings

Speak slowly, not loudly, when speaking to someone with a hearing impairment.  Speaking in a louder voice is likely only to increase sound distortion for the listener.  Speaking slowly and clearly in a normal tone of voice will best help you to be understood.  From Robert D. Frisina, Jr., Phd, University of Rochester, School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, New York.

Common Myths & Facts About Your Hearing


MYTH: My type of hearing loss cannot be helped.

FACT: In virtually all cases, nerve deafness can be helped through amplification. Other types of impairment may be medically treatable. Under any circumstance, regular examinations and hearing tests will provide a certain answer. Some people discover their problem is just too much earwax!

MYTH: The fancy new digital hearing aids can automatically eliminate unwanted background noise.


FACT: No instruments, no matter how sophisticated, can do what only the human brain does: selectively cancel out noise that you perceive as undesirable. Better understanding with amplification in noisy environments will vary due to the type and degree of hearing loss, accuracy of the instrument fitting and most importantly, your ability and patience as you relearn to hear with amplified sound.

MYTH: I’m too old to benefit from hearing aids.

FACT: Chances are, no matter what your age, you rely on your hearing to maintain connection with the world and communicate with those close to you. How would it make others feel if you’re not willing to try improving this vital activity?

MYTH: If I had a hearing problem, I’d know about it.

FACT: Usually not. Hearing loss often develops unnoticeably over several years. Most people compensate for the very gradual changes by asking others to repeat, turn the TV volume louder, possibly even by reading lips. Allowed to continue, these habits mistakenly make you believe there is no problem or that it has gone away.

MYTH: Hearing loss just means sounds need to be louder.

FACT: Not really. In most cases, you can hear people talking, but have difficulty understanding what they’re saying. Perhaps you can understand well in quiet environments but have trouble in noisy surroundings or in groups. Making all sounds louder just makes understanding harder. It’s why hearing aids are designed to amplify the specific frequencies you need for better understanding.

Effects Of Hearing Loss


Many adults do not realize how much hearing they have lost, but family members and friends may see changes in their behavior. In a study done in 1999 by the National Council on Aging, the following effects of untreated hearing loss were found.


Those adults whose hearing loss is not treated report:

  • Sadness and depression
  • Worry and anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Less social activity
  • Emotional turmoil and insecurity

Adults who have treated their hearing loss report benefits that include:

  • Better relationships with their families
  • Better feelings about themselves
  • Improved mental health
  • Greater independence and security