How Common Is Hearing Loss?
As you age, there is a possibility that you can have some degree of hearing loss. In fact, roughly half of adults in the U.S. who are at least 65 years old have some form of hearing loss. Although this generally cannot be reversed, there are steps you can take to hear better.
Who Gets Hearing Loss?
Hearing loss usually affects older adults due to aging or exposure to loud noises over the years. Around one quarter of adults between 55 and 64 years old in the U.S. have experienced hearing loss. Your risk of having this problem can be higher if you have certain risk factors. These include the following:
- Being an older adult, which is when inner ear structures can begin to deteriorate
- Being exposed to very loud noises over long periods of time or on a frequent basis
- Having a family history of hearing loss
- Taking medications that might damage your inner ear, such as certain antibiotics
- Having an illness that causes a high fever, which can damage your inner ear
Causes of Hearing Loss
Other potential causes of hearing loss include a ruptured eardrum, earwax build up over the years or having severe or frequent ear infections. Hearing loss caused by earwax can be restored by removing the wax, but most other causes result in permanent loss.
Symptoms of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss can affect you in several ways. Speech might sound muffled, or you might have trouble understanding individual words if you’re in a crowded or noisy environment. You might find that you have to increase the TV volume, or you might have to ask other people to repeat what they said frequently. Symptoms of hearing loss often develop gradually over a long period of time, rather than suddenly.
Treatment for Hearing Loss
Treatment options for hearing loss often depend on the underlying cause. Earwax removal can reverse loss that is caused by large amounts of earwax. Surgery might be required for severe injuries or frequent ear infections that could lead to hearing loss. Cochlear implants are sometimes used for cases of severe hearing loss that cannot be successfully treated with traditional hearing aids. These implants replace the damaged auditory nerve and help to make sounds louder and speech clearer.
One of the most common types of treatment is the use of hearing aids. These devices make noises sound louder, so that you have an easier time hearing them. You might be a good candidate for hearing aids if you have damage to your inner ear - due to the natural aging process. There are different kinds of hearing aids to choose from, including smaller ones that go into your ear and ones that fit over your ear.
Benefits of Hearing Loss Treatment
Hearing loss can have a significant impact on your quality of life. Those who have it might develop anxiety or depression when they have difficulty communicating with other people or problems hearing music, movies and other sounds they enjoy. Untreated hearing loss can put you at an increased risk of depression, cognitive problems, and falling.
Hearing Loss Prevention
You can protect your ears from hearing loss by limiting your exposure to very loud noises or wearing earplugs or other protective ear wear to block out sounds. Scheduling regular hearing tests can also help detect hearing loss early.
If you have hearing loss, please contact Lakeside Allergy ENT to make an appointment at our Hearing Center. We offer hearing evaluations and treatment for hearing loss.