The ability to hear and communicate effectively impacts all aspects of your life including relationships, social interactions, and overall quality of life. According to the American Academy of Audiology, one in three people over the age of 60 have hearing loss and one in two people older than 85 have hearing loss. Hearing loss can occur at any age. Although hearing loss might occur suddenly, it most often develops over several years or decades. Some of the reasons for changes in hearing include aging, use of some types of medications, exposure to loud sounds, serious infections, and accidents.
Although most hearing loss in adults is permanent, some types of hearing loss are medically treatable or surgically correctable. The most common treatment for permanent hearing loss in adults is hearing aids; however, only a fourth of those who can benefit from a hearing aid use one. Most individuals wait about seven years to investigate treatment options after they begin to suspect having a hearing problem. Reasons for waiting include not thinking that the hearing loss is bad enough to need attention, not knowing what services are available, concern over cost, the social stigma of hearing loss, and a lack of self-awareness.
Common signs of hearing loss include:
- Feeling like others are always mumbling.
- Asking people to repeat what they say.
- Missing words or phrases on the telephone.
- Difficulty hearing or understanding speech in noisy environments.
- Turning the volume up on the television or radio louder than normal.
Hearing loss can be managed using technology and improving communication strategies. Contact your doctor to schedule an exam and to determine if hearing aids or other assistive listening devices may be appropriate for you or Find an Audiologist now through the American Academy of Audiology website.
Related article: Study Finds Link Between Dementia and Hearing Loss
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