It is a given that hearing loss increases significantly as we age. Statistics show that two percent of babies are born with some hearing impairment. Four to six percent develop a loss after birth to age six. A very significant number is that 50 to 64 percent develop a hearing loss between 20 and 59 years. After the age of 60, 20 to 30 percent suffer from a hearing loss.
In adults, the most prevalent cause of hearing loss in North America is due to noise and aging, according to the North American World Health Organization.
When a person starts to suffer from a hearing loss, there are signs that your hearing is changing. Some of these symptoms include the following:
- Sounds and speech are muffled
- A person has a difficult time understanding words, especially when in a crowd or when there is background noise
- There is a difficult time hearing consonants
- A person asks that the other person speak more slowly, loudly, and clearly
- It is necessary to turn up the volume on the radio or TV
- The person withdraws from conversations
- The person avoids attending some social settings
If a person suffers from these symptoms, it is essential to see a healthcare professional. There are many ways to improve the loss of hearing, aside from hearing aids. A person suffering from hearing loss often suffers emotional effects if s/he does not seek professional help. Suffering from hearing loss can take away some of your happiest moments in life.
Hearing loss can result in psychological effects for both adults and children. This may result in increased outbursts of anger. It also can cause low self-esteem and a lack of confidence. A person can often suffer from embarrassment, frustration, and depression. Adults, in particular, often experience bouts of sadness and grieving as their hearing diminishes. The loss can also result in a feeling of fatigue since they struggle to understand and to hear as this can be exhausting.
Hearing loss often interferes with social interaction. As the loss continues, a person often withdraws from social situations. The reason for this is because these situations cause such a challenge. The person might decide not to attend family functions, stop attending the weekly poker game, or even not participate in religious services. This can sometimes result in isolation as well as loneliness.
Family relationships can also cause issues. An adult often feels they are not being heard, and this results in feelings of depression and isolation. Family members of the person sometimes experience annoyance, frustration, and sadness that their loved one cannot hear what they have to say. All of this results in a strain on family relationships.
Treating hearing loss can get worse if it is ignored. Sometimes the damage results in being permanent. There are many reasons for hearing loss. One of them is as simple as sometimes taking an everyday drug like aspirin. Like other health issues, taking care of your hearing problem early might result in it being easier. An example, if you suffer from nerve damage, which is a common problem, and you see your doctor when you notice the problem, you might feel better by taking pills. If you wait too long, you might face surgery or hearing aids.
You can look at hearing loss as a joint venture between you and a hearing specialist. Together you will determine the following:
- Type of hearing loss
- Cause, if known
- Your lifestyle
- Your age and communication needs
- Cosmetic preferences
- Your budget
If your specialist determines you have a conductive type of hearing loss, s/he may suggest you have it medically or surgically corrected.
Sensorineural hearing loss can usually be treated by being properly fitted with hearing aids. Today they are offering patients so much more than in previous years. They are also available in a broad range of styles, sizes, technology levels, and prices.
Hearing aids are the most common way to help people with hearing loss. Today there are some which are so small that they can hardly be detected when placed correctly in the ear.
Hearing loss is a problem that has several ways to be treated. Instead of suffering from this situation, it is a problem that can usually be fixed by having a hearing test and then meeting with a specialist to determine what action to take.