Do you ever miss parts of a conversation when you are in a noisy setting like a restaurant? Or have trouble following a conversation with multiple people in a social setting? These communication challenges are common signs of hearing loss, a chronic medical condition that impacts over 48 million people in the U.S.
Though hearing loss is a widespread health issue, it is often undertreated. This is due to a few factors including that it typically develops over time so people may not notice for quite some time, there are numerous misconceptions like it’s not too serious of a health concern, and there’s still stigma associated with impaired hearing. But it is important to know that delaying treatment can worsen the impairment, contribute to other health issues, and take a toll on relationships and wellness. Recognizing the early signs of hearing loss and taking swift action can profoundly transform hearing health.
Common Causes of Hearing Loss
There are several factors that can contribute to the development of hearing loss. Common causes include the following:
Aging: also known as presbycusis, age related hearing loss is common. According to the National Institutes of Health, 1 in 3 adults who are between the ages of 65-74 have hearing loss. This increases to 1 in 2 adults for adults 75 and over. Aging is the greatest indicator of hearing loss. This can be due to a few reasons: other medical conditions which increase the risk of hearing loss also disproportionately impact older adults, changes that may occur to the ears over time, and the toll of noise exposure to the auditory system over time.
Loud noise: one time or consistent exposure to loud noise can damage the hair cells in the inner ear. These sensory cells help translate incoming sound waves into electrical signals that are then sent to the brain to be assigned meaning to which is what allows us to understand what we hear. We are commonly exposed to hazardous levels of sound in the workplace, social settings like restaurants and parties, listening to audio on electronic devices etc.
Existing medical conditions: numerous medical conditions increase the risk of developing hearing loss. Research shows that the following health conditions are associated with hearing loss: diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension.
Other causes of hearing loss include head or neck injuries, ear obstructions, and inner ear disorders.
Signs that Signal Hearing Loss
Hearing loss reduces one’s capacity to hear and absorb speech as well as sound. This produces a range of symptoms including:
Sounds are slurred, muffled, or distorted
Frequently asking others to repeat themselves, speak louder, and/or slower
Difficulty hearing in environments with background noise (restaurants, parties, bars etc.)
Missing words or parts of a conversation
Lip reading to help distinguish individual words
Feeling confused or lost during a conversation
Tinnitus: a buzzing or ringing noise heard in the ears which reduces capacity to hear what others are saying
These difficulties with communication are common signals that you are experiencing hearing loss. Impaired hearing strains communication and makes it challenging to navigate conversations with ease.
Treating Hearing Loss with Clear Hearing
The great news is that hearing loss is highly manageable. The first step towards treating your hearing loss is having your hearing assessed. Hearing tests involve a painless process that measures hearing ability in each ear. This identifies any impairment as well as the degree of hearing loss you are experiencing. Once we establish your specific hearing needs, we recommend treatment options that can effectively meet those needs.
Hearing aids are the most common treatment for hearing loss. Like many electronic devices today, hearing aids have experienced substantial innovation. These devices are more technologically advanced and sleeker than ever before. With a wide range of options, our experts use their expertise, your hearing needs, and lifestyle preferences to recommend the device that will be optimal for you. Treating hearing loss offers life-changing benefits like maximizing hearing ability, strengthening communication, improving relationships, adn enriching social life. Call us today to get started. Clear Hearing offers a suit of comprehensive services that are invested in improving your hearing health and wellness. Contact us to schedule an appointment for a hearing consultation, the countless benefits of treatment await you.