Hearing loss is a pervasive medical condition that nearly 48 million people of all ages live with today. Impaired hearing is the third most common chronic physical condition after heart disease and arthritis. Though hearing loss is a widespread health issue that more and more people experience an increased risk of developing, it is often underdiagnosed. Learning more about the condition and common symptoms can motivate early intervention which can profoundly transform hearing health.
Understanding Hearing Loss
Hearing loss is a public health epidemic. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders:
- 1 in 3 adults, ages 65-74, have hearing loss
- 1 in 2 adults, ages 75 and older have disabling hearing loss
- 16% of adults, ages 18 and older, report some trouble hearing
Hearing loss occurs when the auditory system - the sensory system for hearing - is temporarily disrupted or permanently damaged. To understand how hearing can be impaired, it is helpful to know how hearing works! The process of hearing involves:
This process can be obstructed in various ways, producing numerous symptoms that reduce one’s ability to hear.
Types & Causes
There are three types of hearing loss with different causes and treatment options.
Hearing loss reduces the capacity to detect and process sound, producing a range of symptoms including the following:
- Tinnitus: a buzzing, ringing, clicking like noise that can be experienced in one or both ears
- Sounds are slurred or muffled, making it difficult to distinguish words
- Frequently asking others to repeat something they've said, speak slower, and/or louder
- Needing to move to a quieter environment to hear more clearly
- Increasing the volume on electronic devices
- Lip reading or pretending to hear during a conversation
- Missing parts of a conversation, experiencing miscommunication, feeling fatigued after interacting with others
These symptoms can be experienced mildly to severely, depending on the degree of hearing loss present.
Hearing Loss Treatment
Fortunately, there are effective ways to treat hearing loss that maximize hearing and improve overall health! The Center for Healthy Hearing focuses on providing solutions for your hearing needs. We understand the collective toll untreated hearing loss can take on communication, relationships, and social life.
Communication is such an essential component of how we move through and understand our surroundings. Navigating symptoms while trying to have conversations can be difficult, especially in environments with background noise or while trying to speak with multiple people. This often leads to major effects like social withdrawal and strained relationships with loved ones. Untreated hearing loss can also increase health risks and contribute to the development of additional medical conditions.
Even though hearing loss is a serious medical condition that needs immediate attention, it is often underdiagnosed. In fact, according to the Hearing Loss Association of America, people with hearing loss wait an average of 7 years before seeking help. This can worsen impairment as well as produce negative health outcomes. Early intervention can significantly help with the transition into enhanced hearing health. It is important to be as proactive as possible: getting your hearing tested regularly as well as paying attention to any changes you may experience even if they seem minor. We highly encourage you to start integrating hearing healthcare into general healthcare routines.
We use a comprehensive approach that involves the latest technology, best practices, and patient-centered care to thoroughly assess and treat hearing loss. Treatment not only alleviates symptoms but also maximizes hearing capacity and strengthens communication. Extensive research shows that this offers life-changing benefits: improves relationships, enriches social life, enhances wellness, and improves health outcomes. Our practice is committed to developing meaningful relationships that offer long-term support throughout one’s hearing health journey.