Hearing Loss Overview

Hearing loss affects 15% of the adult population of the US, but only 16% of people with hearing loss seek treatment. As one of the most common medical conditions, it is important to have the proper information to make informed decisions. Read on to learn more about hearing loss and what you can do if you think you have it. 

What is hearing loss?

Hearing loss is when your hearing ability is decreased, making it harder for you to hear conversations and all the other sounds you enjoy in life. There are many conditions that could cause hearing loss, but age and loud noise exposure are the two main causes.

As we get older, the incidence of hearing loss rises. Approximately 91% of adults with hearing loss are over the age of 50.

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Hearing Loss

How do I know I have hearing loss?

Hearing aids can be transformative but only if they are the right model, programmed to meet your specific hearing needs. That’s where we come in. We’re excited to work with you to help you find your ideal type and model. There are so many types of hearing aids, it is easy to get confused. To help guide you, here is a list of some of the most common types we offer.

There are some signs that might mean you have a hearing loss. 

  • You ask people to repeat themselves often.
  • Your family says you watch TV at too loud a volume.
  • You hear a ringing sound in your ears.
  • You find it hard to hear in noisy environments or groups.
  • You tend to miss important sounds like the phone ringing or the doorbell.

In most cases, it is primarily the highest frequencies that are first affected with hearing loss. As these are essential to perceiving the so-called voiceless consonants (f, s, p, t), speech comprehension is often affected. Additional symptoms such as tinnitus, noise sensitivity or dizziness appear based on the kind of hearing loss. For almost all cases, hearing loss is irreversible once the damage has been done.

senior man cupping his ears
Most sufferers do not know that untreated hearing loss has a long-term effect on the mind and quality of life. Chronic fatigue is common for those with untreated hearing loss, especially after social interaction in a noisy place. The interactions are so exhausting that future social engagements are avoided more often. Studies have shown that older people with hearing loss are substantially more likely to acquire dementia than those with regular hearing.

Where does hearing loss come from?

The biggest cause for hearing loss is age-related hearing loss. Hearing loss associated with age (presbycusis) is a natural occurrence. It typically begins between 45 and 65 years of age and may be exacerbated by environmental factors as a chronic exposure to noise. Hearing loss associated with age primarily affects the higher frequencies and develops in both ears. It is thought to be due to the wear and tear than the hair cells in the cochlea experience. This means the auditory nerve receives fewer sound signals to send to the brain for processing.
senior man holding his ears
Following aging-related damage to the inner ear, noise-induced hearing loss is the second biggest source. Lengthy exposure to intense levels of noise, for example from noisy occupations or listening to loud music, triggers noise-induced hearing loss. It can also occur from short and extremely loud sound bursts like gunshots and explosions, which can cause physical damage to the ear structures. You may not notice the symptoms of noise-induced hearing loss for a long time, but the damage has definitely been done. Many suffer from tinnitus as the first indication that noise has impaired their hearing.

How do hearing aids help?

Hearing loss can come on very quickly, although it is incremental in most instances - that means that it occurs slowly. There is no treatment for hearing problems of this kind, but many consider hearing aids of enormous help.

Hearing aids can:

  • amplify the important frequencies which you are lacking
  • make it easier to converse with others in noisy places
  • help you talk on the phone
  • give you more confidence in your surroundings
  • help reduce tinnitus symptoms
  • help you hear important sounds better

If you think you have hearing loss, contact us today. We will help you find the optimal solution if you feel that you are starting to miss the sounds around you. We can run tests to confirm how much you might have, and propose solutions that will help you get back to living your life.

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