Understanding Hearing Loss
Phones, dishwashers, all kinds of “modern conveniences” which we can’t imagine living without. Why in a world where 15% of adults have hearing issues, do only 16% of THOSE try to get this problem sorted out! That’s 15 of 100 people who limit the quality of their life by not addressing their hearing. Only 2 of those 15 actually do something in an era where we have wonderful solutions at our fingertips!
In this article, we’ll learn about the basics including common signs of untreated hearing loss. Then in the following articles, we’ll look at several other topics with the help of an expert.
- Part 2: Hearing Loss, an Unseen Impact, and Facing Your First Hearing Test
- Part 3: Tinnitus, Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments
- Part 4: What You Need to Know About Hearing Devices
By Dr. Shekinah Mast, Audiologist
Did you know that hearing loss is the third most common physical condition in the United States, after arthritis and heart disease? It’s a problem that affects more than 48 million Americans, and it can happen to anyone at any age. This blog post will discuss four fast facts about hearing loss that you need to know.
1. Hearing Loss Is More Common Than You Think
According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), approximately 15% of American adults report some degree of hearing loss. That’s nearly one in six people. And that number increases with age – almost half of Americans ages 65-74 have hearing loss, and three-quarters of those ages 75 or older have difficulty hearing.
2. Hearing Loss Can Occur Gradually Or Suddenly
Most hearing loss cases develop over time due to age-related hearing loss (presbycusis) or excessive noise exposure. In these cases, a person’s hearing can deteriorate slowly over many years, without them even noticing. There are many different causes of hearing loss, but the most common is damage to the delicate hair cells in our inner ear. These cells convert sound waves into electrical signals that our brains interpret as noises or words. When they’re damaged or destroyed, we can’t hear as well as we used to or even sometimes at all.
Hearing loss often happens gradually, and because of this it can feel like it snuck up on you.
3. Common Symptoms
- Frequently misunderstanding speech, especially in an environment where there are competing signals
- Tinnitus in one or both ears (Tinnitus is sounds that are in your head, not heard by others. Can present in many forms: ringing, humming, buzzing, music, etc.)
- Needing the tv or phone turned up very loud to be able to understand it
- Feeling as though everyone around you is mumbling
- Significant difficulty understanding women and children’s voices
- Choosing to stay home or not participate in activities or events because you can’t hear what’s going on anyway
If you felt like some of these signs have been present in your life, you should have your hearing tested!
4. You Don’t Have To Live With Hearing Loss
Hearing loss can have a negative impact on your quality of life, but it doesn’t have to be that way. If you experience any symptoms of possible hearing impairment – such as trouble understanding conversations or ringing in the ears (tinnitus) – see an audiologist for a comprehensive hearing evaluation and discuss treatment options with them right away. There are several ways to treat hearing loss, depending on its severity.
If hearing loss is discovered, hearing aids will likely be recommended to better amplify the sounds you need to hear. No matter what course of treatment you choose, it’s important to start sooner rather than later; the longer you wait, the harder it becomes to regain your lost hearing. Ignoring the problem won’t make it go away, but seeking treatment will help you hear better and enjoy life more fully. If you or someone you know has been impacted by hearing loss, contact an audiologist today.
Mast Audiology Services provides comprehensive diagnostic hearing testing, ear wax removal, and hearing aid consultations, fittings, maintenance and care. They offer a wide range of products and technologies, with multiple service package options and financing for hearing aid purchases.
Dr. Mast has become known for her heart to put her patients and their needs first, with a goal of being able to improve patients’ hearing and communication and, ultimately, their quality of life. For her, it’s rewarding to see the life-changing impact in a patient’s life.