Better Hearing and Speech Month: Dispelling hearing loss myths

by Envoy Medical Staff Member, on May 6, 2023

cogitive overload

May is Better Hearing and Speech Month, founded by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, ASHA, in 1927 to create awareness around the importance of managing communication disorders. As someone who is living with hearing loss, or loves someone with hearing loss, our role in creating awareness is to help educate others on what it's like having and managing hearing loss today.  

Let's set the record straight on some common hearing loss myths.

Most people with hearing loss understand sign language:

False. Of the 48 million people in the United States with hearing loss, less than 500,000 — or about 1% — use sign language.

It's fantastic to see more ASL interpreters at news conferences and entertainment events. However, this helps only a portion of those with hearing loss. Closed captioning is typically the most helpful and isn't always available.

If you have hearing loss, hearing aids will fix it:

False. Hearing loss is a spectrum with many degrees of severity, and while the use of hearing aids, middle ear implants, or a cochlear implant might improve the functioning of someone with hearing loss, it's not like putting on glasses and seeing 20/20. Sensorineural hearing loss can be treated, not cured. Someone who uses hearing aids may hear very well one-to-one but struggle in louder or larger group situations. The ability of an individual to understand speech (not just volume, but the ability to discriminate speech) can vary despite the severity of one's loss and impacts how successfully one can communicate.  Utilizing other communication tools and strategies in addition to a single treatment option is a better solution.

Hearing aids are now covered by the Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act:

False. Hearing aids are not covered by insurance, despite years of lobbying by hearing aid manufacturers and advocacy groups like HLAA.  Other hearing treatment options such as middle ear implants are also not typically covered.

While the Over-The-Counter Hearing Aid Act has removed the barrier of having to purchase hearing aids through a licensed hearing health professional making access easier, it does not cover any costs. The act allows only those with perceived mild to moderate hearing loss to purchase hearing aids directly over the counter in the hopes that increased competition lowers prices.

Anyone can get a cochlear implant:

False.  To qualify for a cochlear implant, you would have to be evaluated by an audiologist and surgeon to determine whether you have the right type of hearing loss and meet the indications.  If you are found to be a good candidate it's submitted to your insurance.  Most insurance companies cover cochlear implants.

This year use Better Hearing and Speech Month to broaden awareness around what it looks like today to live with hearing loss. 

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