Hearing loss is a fact of life as we age. It occurs gradually and can begin around the age of 60 or earlier. While there are many causes of hearing loss, some common causes include aging, long-term exposure to loud noises, and certain diseases or illnesses. And a question aging people may have on their mind is “when should I get professional medical help?”
Well, first know that if you’re beginning to experience some sense of hearing loss, you’re not alone. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, approximately 15 percent of Americans aged 20-69 have some degree of hearing loss. This number increases with age and is estimated to reach 50 percent for those older than 75. It is also estimated that 28 million American adults could benefit from using hearing aids. Although hearing loss is a common condition, it can still be difficult to adjust to. With proper diagnosis and treatment, however, it is possible to manage hearing loss and its effects.
What are the symptoms of hearing loss?
Symptoms of hearing loss may vary in severity but often include difficulty hearing conversations, a need to turn up the volume on TVs or radios, and a tendency to miss words in sentences. If you experience any of these symptoms it is important to speak with an audiologist for diagnosis and treatment options.
How can hearing loss be prevented?
Hearing loss can be prevented by avoiding exposure to loud noises and wearing protective earplugs in noisy environments. Additionally, regular hearing tests can help identify any issues early on and allow for more effective treatment.
How is hearing loss treated?
Hearing loss is typically treated with hearing aids, either alone or in combination with other therapies such as speech therapy. A hearing aid amplifies sound so that it becomes louder and easier to hear. It does not restore normal hearing, but it does make speech and other sounds clearer.
When do you need a hearing aid?
When you need a hearing aid depends on your individual needs and may vary from person to person. If you experience any symptoms of hearing loss, it is best to speak with an audiologist for diagnosis and treatment options. An audiologist can help determine if a hearing aid is necessary and can help you find the right device for your needs.
When should you talk to your primary care provider?
Primary care providers can help diagnose hearing loss and may refer you to an audiologist for treatment. Your primary care doctor or nurse practitioner can review your medical history to identify any conditions that could be contributing to hearing loss, such as diabetes or high blood pressure. They may also perform a physical examination of your ears and skull to look for any signs of injury or infection that may be causing the hearing loss. In addition, your primary care provider can provide advice and resources to help you cope with hearing loss and adjust to any lifestyle changes that may result from treatment.
While hearing loss is a natural part of aging, there are steps you can take to protect your hearing and treat any issues that do arise. If you experience any symptoms of hearing loss, it is important to first speak with your primary care provider and then possibly an audiologist as soon as possible. With proper care and management, hearing loss can be managed and its effects minimized.
Overall, while hearing loss is an inevitable part of aging, it doesn’t have to be a permanent problem. With proper diagnosis and treatment, hearing loss can be managed and its effects minimized. If you experience any symptoms of hearing loss, it is important to speak with your primary care provider or an audiologist as soon as possible.
If you or a loved one over 50 suffer from any level of hearing loss, be sure to contact us at AgeWell Medical to schedule a primary care appointment.
*This content is for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice.*
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (2020). Age-Related Hearing Loss: https://www.asha.org/public/hearing/Age-Related-Hearing-Loss/
Mayo Clinic Staff (2019). Hearing Loss: Symptoms and Causes: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hearing-loss/symptoms-causes/syc-20373881
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD). (2019). Age-related hearing loss: https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/age-related-hearing-loss
U.S Department of Health and Human Services (2018). Hearing loss: Know the signs, act quickly to treat it?: https://www.hhs.gov/aging/healthy-aging/