Nic Wray, BTA Communications Manager, separates fact from fiction

Hearing loss can be a sensitive topic, not least because it feels scary. But the more you know, the easier it is to live with it.

Here, I hope to look at some of the myths and misconceptions around hearing loss and set the record straight.

MYTH: Only old people have hearing loss.

One in five adults in the UK have hearing loss. Of these, more than 3 million are aged under 60, and there are 50,000 children with hearing loss.

MYTH: Hearing loss isn't a big problem.

Untreated hearing loss can also increase your risk of cognitive decline, dementia and Alzheimer's, social isolation and depression.

MYTH: Only very loud noises cause hearing loss.

Prolonged exposure to even moderately loud noises can damage your hearing.

MYTH: I'd know if I had hearing loss.

Hearing loss can develop so gradually, it may take you a long time to realise you are experiencing it.

MYTH: I don't need a hearing aid, I'll just turn up the volume.

Turning up the volume - or asking people to speak up - often distorts sounds, making it even harder to hear correctly.

MYTH: Hearing aids will make my tinnitus louder.

The opposite is in fact true: this is the most common - and one of the most effective - treatment for people who have tinnitus with hearing loss.

MYTH: Hearing loss is inevitable, especially with age.

Hearing loss has many causes, including genetics, some medications, smoking, diabetes and exposure to loud noises. Noise exposure is the most preventable cause of hearing loss.

MYTH: Hearing aids won't help.

Hearing aids work for almost everyone, but only if you use the right technology with the right settings. An audiologist will take the time to get these things correct.

MYTH: I don't need hearing aids yet, I can cope fine.

It is easy to dismiss a mild hearing loss as unimportant, but it can still have an impact on your cognitive abilities, work, home and social life. The longer you wait, the harder your hearing loss will be to treat.


Find out more about hearing loss and tinnitus.