sixtyandme logo
We are community supported and may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site. Learn more

The Most Common Misconceptions About Hearing Loss

By Keith Darrow August 12, 2023 Health and Fitness

How would you feel about living a life that is healthier and happier?

I suppose the answer would be a resounding, “I would love that!” I’m here to tell you that as you age, there are certain misconceptions that, if understood, can help you and your loved ones live healthier, happier and perhaps even longer lives.

Many don’t fully understand what hearing loss truly entails. While hearing loss is the #1 sensory disorder on the planet, it is also one of the least treated chronic medical conditions.

Let’s discuss some common misconceptions about hearing loss and what you can do to support healthy hearing.

Misconception #1: Your Doctor Will Inform You If You Have Hearing Loss

Even if you show up for regular check-ups with your doctor, a general practitioner will rarely, if ever, have reason to believe you may be suffering from hearing loss, and I’ve yet to see one who will automatically perform hearing tests related to symptoms you may be experiencing (and quite frankly, it’s not their job). No – rubbing their fingers near your ears and asking if you can hear it – is not a hearing test!

It is vital to understand that, when experiencing symptoms of hearing loss and tinnitus, it could be related to your hearing health, and you should see an audiologist to confirm whether your symptoms are related to damage in the ear and/or brain. These symptoms may include:

  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
  • Muffling of speech and other sounds
  • Background noise becoming bothersome
  • Issues understanding words in noisy places
  • Social isolation
  • Asking others to repeat or speak slower or louder
  • Issues hearing consonants in a sentence
  • Turning up the volume often

It is important as you age to have professional hearing tests done, especially in the early stages. This can go one of two ways. You may find out that your hearing is fine, and your audiologist can use the result as a baseline to compare your hearing down the road. Or, if it is verified that you do have hearing loss, your audiologist can determine the degree and advise as to whether hearing aids will benefit you.

Misconception #2: Hearing Loss Will Only Affect the Ears

Although we were taught in grade school that we hear with our ears, the truth is we hear with our brains! When you are having difficulty hearing, obviously the ears are the first thing you think of. However, there are many other areas in your life that can also be impacted by hearing loss.

Over time, hearing loss can and will (if not properly addressed) affect your social life, your mental health, your cognitive abilities, and overall health and wellness. Don’t let yourself get to a point where it is too late. Address it now and enjoy the finer things in life as you age.

Misconception #3: You Cannot Improve Your Hearing

While hearing loss cannot be cured, you can significantly improve your hearing, and there are treatments available to help you do so. One of the most promising and helpful options being the use of hearing technology to properly stimulate the brain and help you hear everywhere. Today’s advanced prescription technology is proven effective in providing you with a better overall hearing experience no matter what environment you are in (including noisy restaurants).

Using prescription technology to treat hearing loss is the most common and effective option available. If you are prescribed hearing aids as part of a comprehensive hearing treatment plan, the goal is to increase the clarity of what others are saying, reduce the interference of background noise and impede the ringing in your ears (assuming you suffer from tinnitus – like 90% of all people with hearing loss).

Providing the right auditory stimulation to the brain can only be achieved with a custom prescription that results from a comprehensive diagnostic process. This guarantees that each patient will receive maximum clarity and hear as naturally as possible.

While the short-term goal of treatment is to reduce the frustration, isolation and embarrassment that come along with hearing loss, the long-term goal is to improve cognitive (brain) health and reduce the risk of detrimental diseases such as dementia.

Misconception #4: Hearing Aids Are Huge and Embarrassing

Many years ago, this was true, but hearing aids have come such a long way.

So, the question is, “Will others be able to see my hearing aids?”

Thankfully, I can now tell you that there are several options available when it comes to modern hearing technology. Extended Wear Technology is placed deep in your ear canal and worn 24 hours per day for 4 months at a time. This hassle-free option is great for patients who desire maximum discreteness or for those who cannot handle the daily routine (due to arthritis or memory-related issues).

Daily Wear Technology offers the most advanced and precise capabilities that can follow the dynamics of every listening environment and differentiate between speech and background noise. You and your hearing healthcare specialist will decide what is best for you, your hearing loss, and your tinnitus needs.

Misconception #5: Hearing Aids Are Not Affordable

One of the biggest mistakes often made is assuming that hearing aids are outside of your budget. In fact, there are many affordable options made to help you not only treat your hearing loss but ones that don’t break the bank.

Keep in mind, however, that some low-cost over-the-counter hearing aids will be more expensive to maintain down the line. In some cases it’s more affordable to get a monthly treatment plan that includes full coverage of your device, supplies, etc.

As always, I look forward to your questions. And if you’d like to learn more about the latest research about and treatment options for hearing loss, there is plenty of information on my website.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

Who was the first person who noticed your hearing loss? Do you think your GP is competent enough to diagnose/test hearing loss? Do you wear hearing aids? What’s your experience with them?

Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

I’m sure I have some hearing loss from all the live concerts I attended in my youth. I had tinnitus for about a year during the pandemic—now that was awful but it went away. My tv is up too high according to my son and I do have to have people repeat themselves occasionally on the phone. It’s not really a problem where it affects me on a daily basis. I have not checked into hearing aids yet but certainly would if it got a lot worse.


I have 2 hearing aids. The right one, feels like it is not there, and can hardly see it. The left one, for the hole in my ear, is larger, and I can feel i there, uncomfortable, so never wear it. I’ve been wearing for about 7 yrs now. It is frustrating, as I still need to ask people to speak louder or repeat themselves. Sometimes even 2-3 times. I think all this stems from playing loud music in my younger years. Makes me wonder about the younger generation with their headphones, earbuds and loud concerts.

The Author

Dr. Keith N. Darrow is the founder of Excellence In Audiology. He is a Neuroscientist, Clinical Audiologist and Certified Dementia Practitioner. Dr. Darrow is also a best-selling author, speaker and professor. He is passionate about helping adults prevent decline, actively age and reduce the risks associated with hearing loss. Dr. Darrow can be contacted at

You Might Also Like