Hearing loss is a growing problem, but it doesn't get the attention it deserves. According to the latest data from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, roughly 30 million adults in the United States should be using hearing aids but aren't. That number is poised to rise in the relatively near future, as experts from around the world are concerned that hearing loss rates will steadily climb over the next few decades. Given these risks, it's important for everyone to know some basic facts about hearing loss.
Doesn't Just Affect the Elderly
We tend to think of hearing loss as a condition that only impacts senior citizens. To be sure, people over the age of 60 are at a higher risk, as the delicate hearing sensors in the inner ear do degrade with age. But hearing loss is affecting more young people now than ever before. In large part, this rise is due to the widespread use of technology, such as phones, tablets and MP3 players. Many of devices are capable of emitting sounds loud enough to damage your hearing and cause premature hearing loss.
Not Just About Hearing
Losing your ability to interact with the world around you is bad enough, but sadly hearing loss is about far more than that. Thanks to numerous scientific studies, we now know that people that suffer from degrading hearing also run a higher risk for depression, anxiety and even memory loss. On top of that, sufferers also tend to avoid social interactions and withdraw from their friends and family, which only compounds the psychological problems associated with hearing loss.
Some Common Symptoms
Fortunately, there are some common symptoms that make hearing loss easy to spot. One of the first is an inability to clearly hear the television or radio. As hearing problems set in, sufferers often turn up the volume to compensate. Additionally, hearing loss sufferers tend to have difficulty following normal conversations, especially in crowded or noisy environments, as it becomes more difficult for the brain to make sense of speech sounds. Also, doctors warn that tinnitus, or a ringing in the ears, is a common early symptom, which could indicate damage to the hearing receptors in the inner ear.
Hearing loss may be becoming more common, but thankfully assistive devices are improving too. Modern hearing aids are slicker and more effective than their obsolete counterparts. Now, these devices don't just amplify sounds indiscriminately. Instead, they digitally manipulate auditory stimuli, adjusting the clarity and tone based on the individual users needs. And if all that isn't good enough, these devices are often smaller, allowing people to use them more discreetly.
If you suspect that you may be suffering from hearing loss, don't hesitate to see a hearing specialist. The earlier you intervene, the better chance you have of preserving your natural hearing ability and limiting the problems associated with hearing loss.
If you or someone you know would like to learn more about hearing loss and how to treat it, please feel free to schedule a consultation or contact one of our representatives today!