Hearing Loss

If you, or those around you, have questioned a reduction in your ability to hear, you may be experiencing hearing loss. Those experiencing a reduction in sensitivity to sound are not alone, as the American Academy of Audiology has estimated 36 million Americans are experiencing hearing loss. Of these hearing losses, about 90% of them can be treated with hearing aids.

Hearing loss is very common as you age. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends that anyone over the age of 50, regardless of their hearing status, should have their hearing screened annually (at least for a baseline).

Signs of Hearing Loss

You may suspect you have a hearing loss if you have a decreased sensitivity to sound, and can answer yes to most of these questions:

  • Do you have trouble understanding others’ speech, where their voices sound muffled or are difficult to understand?
  • Do you find that you are often asking others to speak more clearly or to repeat themselves?
  • Do you have trouble hearing consonants?
  • Do you find that you are having more disagreements or misunderstandings with family members and friends?
  • Do you withdraw from conversations and avoid social situations?
  • Do you experience difficulty understanding others on the phone?
  • Do you find the TV or radio volume is too low and/or others find the volume you are comfortable with too high?
  • Do you have trouble understanding dialogue in a movie or internet video?
  • Do you find it difficult to understand others in a loud social setting, such as a busy restaurant?
  • Sound seems muffled

If you are experiencing 3 or more of these symptoms, you may want to have your hearing checked.

Causes of Hearing Loss

The two most common causes of hearing loss are aging (presbyacusis) and noise exposure. While losing sensitivity to sound is a natural consequence of aging, exposure to high noise levels can cause short and long-term hearing loss. Hearing loss from one rock concert may leave you straining to hear for the rest of your evening, but long-term exposure, such as working with loud work equipment without proper ear protection for a number of years, may cause permanent damage.

Less common causes of hearing loss include hereditary factors, damage to the inner ear, earwax buildup, ruptured eardrum, viral and bacterial infections, heart conditions or stroke, head injuries, tumors, and certain medications.

Ill-Effects of Untreated Hearing Loss

According to the Better Hearing Institute, studies suggest that untreated hearing loss can lead to some or all of the following:

  • Anger, Fatigue, Stress, and Depression
  • Avoidance or Withdrawal from Social Situations
  • Loneliness
  • Reduced Alertness and Increased Risk to Personal Safety
  • Reduced Job Performance and Earning Power
  • Diminished Psychological and Overall Health

Seek Professional Advice

If you suspect you have a hearing loss, you should seek professional advice as soon as possible, because some hearing problems can be quite serious as they may be due to other related illnesses or certain medications.

At ENT of Parker, our audiologists will identify and measure the type and degree of your hearing loss and will recommend treatment options that best fit your needs and lifestyle.

Contact us today for your hearing health needs. We offer on-site hearing tests, hearing aids, and hearing protection. For your convenience, you may schedule an appointment online or give us a call at (303) 840-9690