Did you know that March 3rd is World Hearing Day? Organized by the World Health Organization (WHO), this global call to take action on hearing loss. Impacting nearly 1 in 5 people, hearing loss is one of the most common health conditions that people live with today.
World Hearing Day is a great reminder to prioritize your hearing health. You can do this by scheduling an appointment for a hearing test which is the first step towards treatment!
What causes hearing loss?
There are several factors that can cause hearing loss. A few of the most common causes include:
- Loud noise: one time or regular exposure to loud noise can permanently damage the sensory cells in the inner ear. These sensory cells play a critical role in how soundwaves are processed by converting them into electrical signals that get carried to the brain. Loud noise can desensitize and weaken sensory cells, preventing them from effectively processing soundwaves. This results in the brain receiving less auditory information, producing chronic noise induced hearing loss.
- Aging: also known as presbycusis, the risk of developing age related hearing loss increases with age. This can be caused by the cumulative impact of loud noise exposure, changes that may happen to the ear over time, or existing medical conditions that older adults are disproportionately impacted by adn are correlated with hearing health.
- Medical Conditions: research shows that several medical conditions can increase the risk of hearing loss. This includes heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension which are conditions that can damage blood vessels and constrict blood flow throughout the body including the ears. This can affect how sound waves are absorbed and processed, causing hearing loss.
- Head Injuries: over 3 million head injuries occur every year. Head injuries can damage the bones in the middle ear, the eardrum, and the sensory cells in the inner ear which disrupts the hearing process.
Other causes of hearing loss include chronic ear infections, inner ear disorders, and autoimmune conditions,
What are common signs of hearing loss?
Hearing loss is a medical condition that reduces capacity to hear and process speech and sound. This produces a number of symptoms that include the following:
- Tinnitus: a ringing or buzzing noise in one or both ears that only you can hear.
- Sounds are muffled or distorted.
- Struggling to keep up with conversations in places with background noise.
- Lip reading to identify individual words.
- Asking others to repeat what they said, speak louder, and/or slower.
- Frequently responding with “huh” or “what”.
- Having to increase the volume on your TV, phone, or other electronic devices.
- Being able to hear better out of one ear compared to the other.
- Moving to a quieter room to be able to hear more clearly.
- Keeping conversations as short as possible.
- Feeling left out or excluded from conversations.
These symptoms can be experienced mildly to profoundly, depending on the degree of hearing loss you are experiencing. To cope with these symptoms, people often avoid conversations as much as possible. This often includes spending less time with loved ones and skipping out on social activities and gatherings. Social withdrawal is a common effect of untreated symptoms. This can contribute to the development of depressive symptoms, impacting mental health and wellness. It can also affect relationships, social life, and overall health. If you recognize any of these symptoms, it is important to have your hearing evaluated.
How is hearing loss treated?
The most common treatment for hearing loss is hearing aids. Hearing aids are electronic devices that provide the ears and brain with ample hearing support. They are designed to absorb, amplify, and process speech and sound. This support alleviates hearing loss symptoms and maximizes a person’s hearing capacities. Today’s hearing aids are more advanced than ever before. There are various styles, technologies, features, color options etc. that support hearing aids seamlessly integrating into everyday life.
Schedule a Hearing Test for World Hearing Day
World Hearing Day is a great reminder to prioritize your hearing health adn wellness. You can do this by taking one simple step: scheduling an appointment and a hearing test. Contact us today to schedule a hearing consultation, we look forward to helping you prioritize your hearing health and wellness.