Our hearing starts developing while we’re still in the womb, and we come to recognise our mother’s voice before we’re even born. As newborns, our ears are filled with fluid and our hearing is not fully developed, but we are capable of hearing lullabies, loud noises, and what’s happening around us. Our hearing plays a large part in language development and awareness, so babies come out of the womb with their hearing intact.
As we grow into toddlers and young children, our hearing grows with us. It allows us to pick up sounds and syllables, strengthening our understanding of tone and language. Before long, we’re able to speak and communicate with others. However, congenital or acquired hearing loss can impact children’s development.
While it’s impossible to know exactly how many historical figures were known to suffer from hearing loss, there are a few well-documented cases. Because modern medicine and hearing aids did not exist yet, many people struggling with mild hearing loss went undiagnosed or untreated and learned other ways of coping with their condition.
This list is a small compilation of the notable people throughout history, but the records indicate other historic figures who lived with hearing loss. Likewise, there are famous people with hearing loss that live today, from celebrities to activists.
Prevention is the more important part of hearing loss protection. While certain medications and conditions can put you at risk of developing hearing loss, noise exposure is the number one culprit behind most cases of sensorineural hearing loss. Loud noises wear down the tiny hairs in our cochlea, which help us detect sound. As these hairs are worn away, our hearing degrades and disappears. Luckily, there are ways to combat this process.
Hearing loss may be mild, moderate, severe, or profound. It can affect one ear or both ears, and leads to difficulty in hearing conversational speech or loud sounds. 'Hard of hearing' refers to people with hearing loss ranging from mild to severe. People who are hard of hearing usually communicate through spoken language and can benefit from hearing aids. Not all hearing loss is the same. Treatment will depend on the type of hearing loss you have. Audiologists can help.
Still not sure if you have hearing loss? Have a family member or friend you think is in denial about their own hearing ability? Answering the following questions will help you (and them) figure it out.
Myth: Hearing aids make your hearing normal again.
Fact: Hearing aids do not return your hearing to "normal." They cannot "cure" your hearing loss, but they can help you listen and talk with others. Hearing aids can make your quality of life better.
Myth: A hearing aid will damage your hearing.
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