Hearing Loss FAQs
Hearing loss affects millions of people in the United States, but being familiar with the signs and causes of this common condition can help you take a proactive approach to prevention. Here are a few of the most commonly-asked questions about the causes, signs, and effects of hearing loss.
How can I identify hearing problems?
If you’re suffering from hearing loss, it’s not uncommon to be completely unaware of it early on. Usually, hearing loss begins very gradually, without any noticeable pain or discomfort. Despite changes in your hearing ability, you may not realize that it’s become a problem – especially because friends and family members often unknowingly accommodate hearing loss without noticing.
However, asking yourself a few simple questions can help you determine if you may be suffering from hearing loss:
- Do I struggle to follow conversations that involve more than two people?
- Do I regularly ask people to repeat what they’ve said?
- Do I have a difficult time hearing in crowded places, such as shopping malls or restaurants?
- Do I need someone to directly face me in order to hear them properly?
- Do I have a particularly challenging time hearing women and children speak?
- Do my friends or family complain that my TV or radio is too loud?
- Do I notice a buzzing or ringing in my ears?
- Does it often seem like people are mumbling when they are speaking to me?
If you are able to answer yes to more than a few of the above questions, you may be experiencing hearing loss. A professional hearing evaluation can assess your hearing and determine the severity and next steps.
What are the most common causes of hearing loss?
Hearing loss can result from a variety of factors, including aging, excessive noise, genetics, birth defects, infections of the ear or head, and reactions to certain drugs or cancer treatment methods. There are different types of hearing loss, each one with a unique cause.
How does hearing loss affect my overall health and wellness?
Experiencing hearing loss can have a direct effect on your overall quality of life, and may impede your ability to function as you normally would. However, there are many effective solutions to improve or even resolve hearing issues, making it possible to maintain a healthy, happy lifestyle.
Are there different types of hearing loss?
Yes. There are three primary types of hearing loss:
- Sensorineural hearing loss is the most common and occurs when the nerves in your inner ear are damaged. As a result, these nerves cannot properly send sound signals to the brain. This type of hearing loss can result from aging, medication, and noise damage.
- Conductive hearing loss is generally caused by an obstruction in the ear, which physically blocks sound from reaching the middle ear. Typically, medical or surgical treatments can resolve this type of hearing loss.
- Mixed hearing loss is a combination of both conductive and sensorineural hearing loss.
Does hearing loss only affect older people?
Though it’s often assumed that hearing loss is an issue that only older people experience, it’s actually a condition that affects people of all ages. Hearing loss can occur for a wide variety of reasons, and begin at any age. In fact, more than half of all people dealing with hearing loss are actually under the age of 65, with a considerable number under the age of 18.