Excerpt from “Well Preserved with Eunice Khoury”, NewsRadio 1000 KTOK-AM
“My father, Dr. Jack Hough, called hearing loss ‘the silent hurt’. Besides the obvious, that is, ‘silent hurt’ equated with hearing loss disease, he used this phrase primarily because hearing loss is a condition that is misunderstood and many times goes unrecognized. In the past, good examples of this were children born with hearing loss. Without the sophisticated tests we apply today to infants at birth for hearing screening, hearing loss might go undetected for years –even well past the prime window for language development of two to three years of age. Besides this, misdiagnosis was common – a young child having only a hearing loss with no other pathology might have been diagnosed with mental retardation. So hearing loss was many times misunderstood and unrecognized.
Today, as people age they may begin to withdraw socially. They may feel uncomfortable in groups and isolate themselves to a few friends in controlled settings. If they’re in a busy restaurant or party listening becomes such a struggle they give up, tune out and begin to think they have some attention deficit disorder.
Even in easier listening situations, they know that they can hear, but they’re not understanding words or sentences and these lead to misunderstandings with family and friends. They think, ‘am I having mental problems?’ ‘My family says that they told me the birthday party was on the fifth, but I know they told me the sixth!’ Or with someone who talks quickly, they may feel confused and actually believe they’re becoming mentally slow.
Hearing loss usually develops gradually and tends to sneak up on us. It’s cumulative, and after years of noise exposure or just due to the aging process and genetics or perhaps toxic medications our hearing becomes deficient in certain frequencies. This … affects the way that we relate to others and the quality of our lives. Hearing loss then is the ‘silent hurt’ that is misunderstood and unrecognized as a source of stress, anxiety, frustration and anger, misunderstanding and isolation and the list goes on including depression. So, when someone in the family has a hearing loss the entire family has a hearing problem, but it may not always be recognized as the source of the related communication problems of the family.
Also, the prevalence of hearing loss is astounding with 10% of the general population affected by this disease and well over 30% of those over the age of 65, And over half in their eighties. It’s the third most prevalent chronic disease among the aging. So we call hearing loss ‘the silent hurt.'”