All About Hearing Loss: 10 Facts to Know

Introduction

As we get older, it’s normal for our hearing ability to decline. But if you’re experiencing a decline in your hearing that isn’t related to age, you should see a doctor. There are many causes of hearing loss, from genetics and illness to exposure to loud noises. This guide will help you learn more about the signs and symptoms of hearing loss as well as what causes it and how it can be treated or prevented.

Hearing loss is common.

It’s true: hearing loss is a common occurrence. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), hearing problems are the third most common chronic condition in the United States, affecting one in every three people over 65 and one of every four individuals over 75. The NIDCD estimates that nearly 30 million Americans have some degree of hearing loss, and that number is expected to rise as more baby boomers—who might have been exposed to high levels of noise during their youth—reach retirement age.

There are many causes of hearing loss.

There are many causes of hearing loss, including age, genetics and exposure to loud noise. Other causes include medical conditions such as tumors or surgery, medication side effects (ototoxic drugs), ear wax build-up and disease. In addition to these factors, alcohol use, smoking and nutritional deficiencies all contribute to the onset of hearing loss on a frequent basis.

Our hearing ability decreases with age, but it’s preventable.

Hearing loss is a common condition, but it doesn’t have to be inevitable. Age-related hearing loss is preventable, and there are steps you can take to protect your ears.

Age-related hearing loss occurs when the sensory cells of your inner ear deteriorate over time. These cells, called hair cells, convert sound waves into electrical impulses that travel through your central nervous system to interpret the sounds around you. As they break down and die off, they no longer produce these electrical impulses properly—which means you’ll have a harder time hearing things clearly.

When we’re young, we can usually compensate for this by making more effort in listening closely and turning up the volume on our devices (a habit known as “listening in”). But as we age and our hairs become increasingly damaged over time due to exposure to loud noises or other factors such as genetics or lifestyle choices like smoking cigarettes that could accelerate damage without us realizing it until later down the road when symptoms begin showing up with greater frequency (“What did he say?”).

Hearing loss can have physical effects.

Hearing loss can have physical effects, as well. Hearing loss causes stress on your body, which can lead to physical ailments including headaches and back pain. When you are stressed, it is harder for the body to get rid of toxins that build up in the cells of your body. Sometimes stress causes depression, especially if you feel isolated from others because of your hearing loss. If you lose sleep due to stress or worry about hearing problems and other related issues such as tinnitus (ringing in the ears), this can also cause health problems such as high blood pressure and heart disease.

Hearing loss can have emotional and social effects.

You may be able to manage your hearing loss by using a hearing aid, but it won’t change the emotional and social effects of the condition.

In addition to social isolation, there are other common emotional consequences of hearing loss:

  • Feelings of frustration and anger when you can’t follow conversations in noisy environments or hear people speaking softly.
  • Depression if you become discouraged about your ability to hear well enough for work or social activities.

Living with hearing loss can be isolating.

Living with hearing loss can be isolating. It can be hard to communicate, hear the television, or even hear the doorbell ring when you are home alone. Hearing loss can make it difficult to hear your phone ring or even know when an alarm clock goes off. If this sounds like you, then you need to find ways to combat these issues and stay connected with those around you in a safe and effective way.

Hearing loss can affect relationships.

Relationships are more than just talking. They’re about listening, understanding, caring, being there and trusting each other.

If you’ve been diagnosed with hearing loss, it can affect your relationships in a number of ways. Hearing is an important part of communicating with others—and when that ability is compromised by hearing loss or tinnitus (ringing in the ears), it can affect the entire relationship between two people.

Hearing loss can affect a person’s career.

Your career can be affected by hearing loss. If you’re unable to hear the phone, you may miss important calls or be late to meetings. If coworkers rely on your ability to hear what they are saying, they might get frustrated if you don’t seem to understand them. The boss may also become annoyed if he or she thinks that you aren’t paying attention during meetings and other important conversations because of your hearing problems.

A person’s life outside of work can be affected by hearing loss as well. A person may struggle in social situations—at parties and get-togethers with family members and friends—because he or she cannot communicate effectively due to miscommunication due to his/her inability to hear well enough for dialogue between two people who are talking at once (a situation known as “cocktail party effect”).

It’s important to be proactive about staying healthy as we age.

As you age, it’s important to be proactive about staying healthy. You may worry about getting older and the things that come with it, but you can live a long and healthy life if you take care of your health. Eating well, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep are all important habits for staying healthy in your later years. If you’re concerned about your hearing or other health issues as an older adult (or even if you’re not), make sure to talk to a doctor or other health professional for advice on how best to keep yourself feeling good as time goes on.

If you are experiencing any type of hearing loss, there are options to help you manage it and live your best life.

If you are experiencing any type of hearing loss, there are options to help you manage it and live your best life.

  • Hearing aids: These can be worn in both ears or only one ear depending on the severity of the loss. They amplify sounds and make them easier to hear. Hearing aids can be custom-made or purchased over the counter. They may also be considered a medical device, which means they’re covered by health insurance plans (though each plan has its own coverage rules).
  • Communication therapy: This helps improve understanding through speech reading classes and lip reading practice sessions with an instructor who knows sign language as well as how to teach it.* Cognitive behavioral therapy: This teaches coping skills for managing anger and frustration related to a reduced ability to communicate effectively.* Cochlear implants: The implant is surgically implanted into the auditory nerve in order for sound signals from a microphone worn behind the ear canal or placed near teeth on either side of the face can reach nerves that will lead them straight into your brain’s auditory cortex.* Personalized hearing aid: The newest technology available provides customized sound treatment based on individual needs determined by a professional audiologist after taking tests with several different types of hearing devices.* Hearing test/hearing loss solutions

Conclusion

Hearing loss is a common condition that affects more than 36 million Americans. It can have a significant impact on your life, but there are ways to manage it and improve your quality of life. If you’re experiencing hearing loss, do not be afraid to seek help! There are many types of treatment options available today, so take the time to find out what’s right for you.

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