Hearing Loss Facts

Hearing loss isn’t always obvious. 

Hearing loss occurs gradually over a period of time, so it isn’t always easy to spot the signs. If you are having trouble understanding what other people are saying when they speak, believe their speech sounds muffled or garbled, frequently ask others to repeat what they have said, turn up the volume on the television or radio to levels that others find uncomfortable, hear a ringing sound in your ears or find yourself avoiding social interactions with friends and family, you should consider a hearing evaluation to determine whether you are suffering from hearing loss.

Hearing loss has many causes.

The most common causes of hearing loss are aging and noise exposure. A lot of other factors can contribute to hearing impairment; these include viral diseases, accidents or injury, ear infections, impacted earwax, hereditary traits, birth defects, autoimmune disorders, drugs that are toxic to hearing, abnormal bone growth in the middle ear, certain diseases and benign tumors.

There are three main types of hearing loss.

Hearing loss is categorized by which part of the auditory system has been damaged. There are three main types: conductive hearing loss, the result of damage to the middle or outer ear; sensorineural hearing loss (or “nerve deafness”), which occurs when the hair cells of the inner ear have been damaged; and mixed hearing loss, a combination of conductive hearing loss and sensorineural hearing loss.

Some forms of hearing loss are preventable. 

Certain types of hearing loss, such as that related to aging, cannot be prevented. But taking certain precautions can reduce your odds of developing hearing loss resulting from other factors. Be sure to wear hearing protection whenever you will be exposed to dangerous noise levels, either in recreational settings or on the job. Examples include attending concerts or sporting events, riding a motorcycle or boat, and using power tools. Keep the volume turned down when listening to music through headphones or earbuds. Refrain from inserting objects into your ears, including cotton swabs and safety pins. When blowing your nose, do so gently through both nostrils.

Hearing loss is treatable.

Treatment for hearing loss depends on the type. Conductive hearing losses are often correctable with medication or surgery. Sensorineural hearing losses are usually treated with hearing aids or cochlear implants.

Wearing hearing aids won’t make you look old.

Contrary to popular belief, wearing hearing aids does not make you look old. Being unable to understand what others are saying is more likely to make you look old.