Hearing loss affects far more people than many of us initially suspect. The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders estimates about 40 million Americans have some degree of hearing loss or experience trouble hearing. They also report that one in eight people age 12 or older has some degree of hearing loss in both ears.
Hearing loss does become far more common as we grow older, and age-related hearing loss remains the most common form of hearing loss. It is estimated that 8.5% of adults between the ages of 55-64 years old are affected by hearing loss, and that number escalates to 25% for men and women between 65-74 years old. Hearing loss is the third most common age-related medical condition, behind only arthritis and high blood pressure.
The Types of Hearing Loss
Conductive Hearing Loss
Conductive hearing loss is very often a temporary hearing loss that can be corrected with medication or clearing the ear canal. Conductive hearing loss cases stem from problems with the outer or middle part of your ear. Causes can be:
- Excessive build-ups of wax or fluid
- Otosclerosis (an abnormal bone growth)
- A punctured or damaged eardrum
Sensorineural Hearing Loss/Nerve Deafness
Sensorineural hearing loss is the most common type of hearing loss and includes most hearing loss cases. In fact, it is believed that 90% of hearing problems in adults are from sensorineural hearing loss. The majority of the time, sensorineural hearing loss is permanent and medical treatment or surgery will not reverse the effects. Hearing aids are the most effective treatment with these cases. This type is caused by:
- Hereditary hearing loss
- Head trauma
- Ototoxic drugs
- Exposure to excessive noises and environments
- Malformations in the inner ear
With sensorineural hearing loss, there is a problem with the cochlea and/or auditory nerve which are past your ear canal. Sounds often come through at decreased volumes and can be distorted. Different frequencies begin to register less effectively, often with high-frequency sounds and spoken word sound waves being the first to suffer.
The Warning Signs of Hearing Loss
The warning signs of hearing loss are separated into two types: Social and Emotional.
Social Hearing Loss Signs
- You have to ask people to repeat what they say often
- You begin to have difficulties hearing in noisy environments
- You struggle to understand people if they are not directly facing you
- You often think other people are mumbling or their voice sounds muffled
- Other people tell you that you speak very loudly
- Loved ones or co-workers become frustrated during repetitive conversations
- You have to turn the TV and other electronic devices up to higher volumes
- You need to watch people speak to understand them
- It becomes harder to understand children and people with higher voices
- You mishear others often and respond inappropriately in conversations
Emotional Hearing Loss Signs
- You become annoyed with people because you cannot understand them
- You feel stressed and tired from trying to hear what others say
- You begin to avoid social situations and loud environments
- You feel embarrassed in conversations and social situations from misunderstandings
- You become anxious and nervous about trying to understand others
Schedule Your Hearing Test With Beltone Today
Give our friendly staff a call today at (888) 485-5452, or use our online contact form to find out more about hearing health and schedule your free hearing test.