If you are missing things in conversations, feeling left out, and responding “yes” when the answer is “no”, you are not alone.
The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders states,
approximately, 1 in 3 people in the United States between the ages of 65 and 74 has hearing loss and nearly half of those older than 75 have difficulty hearing.
In addition to those already mentioned, symptoms of hearing loss include:
- Muffling of speech and other sounds
- Difficulty understanding words especially against background noise or in a crowd
- Trouble hearing consonants like “s”, “f”, and “th”
- Frequently asking others to speak more slowly, clearly and loudly
- Needing to turn up the volume on the television or radio
- Not being able to hear others on the phone
- Ringing or noises in the ear (tinnitus)
- Avoiding social situations
When you are experiencing hearing challenges, the most important thing to do is seek professional advice. The worst thing to do is nothing.
There are several things that can cause hearing loss in adults, some include:
- Accumulation of ear wax
- Older age
- Noise exposure
- Some medications
A comprehensive hearing assessment includes a thorough case history, an external ear check, questions about your hearing challenges and multiple beep and word tests. This assessment will determine if a hearing loss is present and identify other specific information about your hearing loss like:
- Is it in one or both ears?
- Is it the same in both ears?
- Is it due to sounds not getting to the inner organ of hearing (cochlea)?
- Is it due to damage to the cochlea or neural transmission?
- Does it require evaluation by an otolaryngologist (ENT) physician due to a condition requiring medical treatment?
Your HCP will review your results, answer your questions, and make recommendations about your next steps.
Don’t put off having your hearing checked because there are several consequences to untreated hearing loss. Paying attention to your hearing is one component of healthy aging. In fact, treatment of hearing loss was found to be the largest modifiable risk factor for developing dementia as reported by the Lancet Commission in 2017. The Lancet is an internationally trusted source of clinical, public health, and global health knowledge.