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.
3. Hearing Aids Work Very Well for Most People with Hearing Loss
Hearing aids are the main treatment option for anyone experiencing mild to severe hearing loss. They help amplify sound, so it reaches your ears more easily and makes speech easier to understand in noisy situations. Modern digital technology allows you to customize your hearing aid settings according to each listening situation – whether you’re talking on the phone or sitting down at a restaurant dinner table with friends. And newer models often come equipped with advanced features like Bluetooth connectivity and directional microphones.
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.