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Hearing Loss and Hearing Aid Facts

an older woman holding a hearing aid with an audiologist standing next to her

According to the Center for Hearing and Communication, 48 million Americans have significant hearing loss. Among Americans over 65, one in three people have lost at least a degree of their hearing, whereas over 75, that number goes up to two out of three people. 

Most of these people could be helped by hearing aids or other assistive listening devices. 

How does hearing loss impact children?

Hearing loss in children is more common than you might think, with around three million American children living with hearing loss. 15% of children aged between six and 19 have measurable hearing loss. Even if you have perfect hearing, your child could experience hearing loss.

Hearing loss can be a big problem for young children, experiencing this can impact how well they can hear their teachers and interact at school. Even mild hearing loss can cause children to lose out on up to 50% of what is said in the classroom. As well as education, struggling to hear can make it hard to develop communication skills and make friends at school. 

The best way to stop their education taking a hit is to identify hearing loss early. Hearing can, and should, be tested from birth. By catching hearing loss early, you can begin treatment or use an appropriate hearing aid so your child can develop communication skills as fast as their peers and not miss out on any of their schooling. 

Hearing aids can be worn by even very small children, if advised by an audiologist. 

How can hearing loss be treated?

Hearing aids are the most common help for hearing loss, and by far the most effective. They can dramatically improve the hearing of most people experiencing hearing loss. Despite this, people losing their hearing wait an average of seven years before seeking help from an audiologist. Hearing aids are an easy fix to give you back a lot of your hearing. 

Assistive listening devices can be used alongside or instead of hearing aids in situations like the cinema, theatre or while watching TV. These devices can help in challenging situations with background noise. 

If you think you have some hearing loss, ask your family doctor to refer you to an audiologist who can conduct hearing tests to determine the problem and the best way to manage it. 

Can loud noises cause hearing loss?

Noise is one of the main causes of hearing loss, but most of us don’t do enough to defend our hearing. All kinds of noisy environments can cause some degree of hearing loss, but this damage is preventable. If you listen to music wearing headphones, don’t turn them up too loud. Wear over the ear headphones instead of in-ear options, as these keep the noise at a safer distance from the ear drum. 

Wear ear defenders or earplugs if you work in a noisy place like a factory floor or with road drills. You should also wear earplugs at loud concerts. Try to avoid loud noise without some kind of ear protection, whether it's the noise from your subway train on the commute or going to a gig at the weekend. 

Are there different kinds of hearing loss?

Yes, there are three main types of hearing loss

Conductive hearing loss occurs when there is a problem with the mechanism that conducts the sound from the outside world into the inner ear. Issues with the outer ear, eardrum or the bones in the middle ear can cause a conductive loss of hearing. This kind of hearing loss can be corrected with surgery or medication. If it cannot be corrected in this way, a hearing aid can be a big help

Sensorineural hearing loss is caused by a problem in the nerve or organ of hearing. This could include damage to the cochlea, the auditory nerve or the auditory centers in the brain. This kind of hearing loss can be helped with a hearing aid, a cochlear implant, medical management or communication therapy. The right treatment will depend on the cause or the degree of hearing loss. 

Mixed hearing loss is a combination of the above two, with individuals presenting symptoms of both of these conditions.

To learn more about hearing loss and how a hearing aid could help you, call Adirondack Audiology at 800-273-9536.