Latest posts by Jeff Baller, Au.D., CCC-A (see all)
- New Year’s Resolution: Get Your Hearing Tested - January 16, 2020
- Hearing Aids and Artificial Intelligence - December 26, 2019
- Avoiding Hearing Tests Could Make the Problem Much Worse - December 23, 2019
Prevalence and Symptoms of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss occurs when there is a problem with the ear that prevents you from hearing sounds normally. Hearing loss is not something rare or uncommon. Most people experience some degree of hearing loss. Two main causes of hearing loss are getting older and prolonged exposure to loud noises. Symptoms of hearing loss include difficulty understanding words especially in a situation where there is a lot of background noise, trouble hearing consonants, increasing the volume on the radio or television, often asking others to speak clearly, louder and more slowly and muffling of speech and other sounds. Once hearing loss occurs, it can’t be reversed. Hearing loss can be treated with the use of hearing aids and other devices.
Studies on Injuries Related to Hearing Loss
Hearing plays an integral part in our everyday lives. Hearing loss can be dangerous if not treated because hearing loss can lead to accidental injuries. Hearing loss can impair your ability to hear warning sounds and signs. For example, not hearing a car honking its horn can cause a car accident. In the workplace, hearing loss can lead to injuries if you are unable to fully hear what is going on around you. Hearing loss can impact your ability to respond to certain situations in a timely manner such as a house fire. A bigger problem with injuries associated with hearing loss is that some people who experience hearing loss are reluctant to be treated for it. Hearing loss is not perceived as a true health risk. Therefore, people deal with it or try to adapt to hearing loss, thus increasing their chances of accidental injury.
Hearing Loss Treatment and Hearing Aids
Unfortunately, there is no cure for hearing loss. Hearing loss can only be treated. The most common and effective treatment for hearing loss is the use of hearing aids. Hearing aids are small electronic battery-powered devices that are used to improve your hearing. Hearing aids consist of three components to achieve this. Hearing aids contain a microphone that is used to pick up the sounds around you, an amplifier that makes the sound louder and a receiver that sends the louder sound to your ear. The first step to obtaining a hearing aid is to have your hearing evaluated. Once the type of hearing loss has been determined and hearing aids are the treatment, an audiologist can help you figure out the type of hearing aid that will work best for you. The type of hearing aid chosen will depend on factors such as the type and severity of hearing loss, age, your ability to manage small devices, your lifestyle and lastly the cost. Hearing aids fall into one of two categories. They are either analog or digital. Analog hearing aids are the basic type of hearing aid. They work by amplifying the sound. These hearing aids are fairly inexpensive with simple to use volume controls. Digital hearing aids are more complex using codes to amplify sounds. This makes it easier to adjust the sound to your preference. Digital hearing aids are more expensive, but the results are better. Hearing aids will not be able to restore your hearing to what it was before the hearing loss. However, the use of hearing aids will vastly improve the quality of hearing.
The Benefits of Treating Hearing Loss
Hearing loss can be a difficult thing to accept. However, there are so many benefits to treating hearing loss. One of the important benefits is improved safety. Hearing loss impacts our ability to be alerted to certain dangers. The use of hearing aids has been proven to increase personal safety both at home and outside. Treating hearing loss can result in better communication. Hearing loss can cause a strain on relationships due to the communication barriers it creates. Treating hearing loss also improves cognitive health and can delay the onset of cognitive diseases such as dementia. People who are treating hearing loss tend to have increased mobility. Mobility is critical in terms of being active and maintaining an overall quality of life. While hearing loss can be scary, it is better to seek treatment for it, than to ignore it.