Hearing Loss Overview
Forty-eight million people in this country suffer from hearing loss. This appears to affect older adults more: one in three people over the age of 65 experience some degree of hearing loss. This trend is more pronounced as people grow older: 2 out of 3 people over the age of 75 have a hearing loss.
Older adults aren't the only ones who can suffer from compromised hearing. According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), approximately 15 percent of American adults between 45 and 64 have hearing loss, and between 18 and 44, nearly eight million have hearing loss. With the proliferation of smartphones and earbuds and the time spent in noisy bars, restaurants, and nightclubs, younger hearing loss rates are rising globally.
Causes of hearing loss
Most people with the condition have had their hearing impaired from many years of being exposed to noise at work. It is particularly true for people working with lots of noisy sounds like those in live music, mining, building, or farming. Young people who listen to loud music on headphones and earbuds are at a growing risk.
Specific triggers which are less common include:
- An ear infection
- A head injury
- Exposure to certain drugs
Hearing loss doesn't often happen instantaneously, This typically grows gradually over a long period and thus is imperceptible at first. This is because the body adapts exceptionally well to changes in hearing.
In today’s noisy world, hearing loss can just be a part of life and the aging process. I refer to it as father time taking his piece. How we manage it can have a massive impact on the person we become as we age further.
But hearing loss from a certain point on can no longer be ignored. This is usually detected by the affected person's family and friends long before the person concerned becomes aware of it.
Symptoms of hearing loss
Because hearing loss is an invisible condition with a variety of different causes and may occur at any age, you may not be aware that you are suffering from it. If you are unsure, then ask yourself the following questions. If you answer with "yes," to three or more items, you might need to take a hearing test.
Do you have trouble hearing when talking on the phone?
- Are you affected by background noise when in conversation in public places?
- Are you having trouble following a conversation when two or more people are talking at once?
- Do you feel like people mumble when they are talking?
- Do you keep telling others to repeat themselves?
- Do you often argue with your family members about the volume on the television?
- Do you often hear a sound that rings, roars, clicks, hisses, or buzzes?
How to prevent hearing loss
Some types of hearing loss can be prevented. Noise-induced hearing loss can be restricted by wearing appropriate hearing protection when exposed to industrial or outdoor noise, and turning down the volume on your television, radio, or personal music system.
Why your doctor might not notice your hearing loss
There are several reasons why your primary care doctor may not notice your hearing loss:
- Physicians lack the equipment to diagnose hearing impairment.
- Only a few doctors routinely check for hearing loss.
- Hearing loss is difficult to identify during a one-to-one conversation in a private doctor's office because those conditions are most conducive to good hearing.
- Many physicians lack vocational training.
When you're concerned about hearing loss, you'll need the services of a hearing specialist who can test your hearing more accurately.
Can hearing loss be cured?
The most widespread form of hearing loss is sensorineural hearing loss, and it is permanent and irreversible. Research is underway to treat hearing loss by surgical intervention, but until then, hearing aids are the best treatment possible for most cases. Hearing aids done right are seamless and easy to use.
People who use hearing aids to manage their hearing loss appear to have more excellent physical health, work success, and mental stability than those who neglect their hearing loss. Despite their benefits, hearing aids are used by only 25 percent of people who need them. Imagine if only 25% of those who needed glasses were wearing them!
There is very little justification for not treating your hearing loss. Treating hearing loss can benefit your relationships, physical well-being, and overall quality of life! It all begins with a hearing test. If a hearing loss is found, we will work with you to determine the appropriate treatment plan, which takes into account your lifestyle, budget, and hearing needs.