Discover how hearing loss can affect your health.
Hearing Loss Info
Hearing loss is very common, affecting approximately 48 million Americans. Many people have the misconception that hearing loss is the complete absence of sound. However, many people who are hearing impaired can hear, they just lack clarity.
Although anyone can develop hearing loss at any age, even children, it is more prominent in older adults. If you are over the age of 55, it is recommended that you have your hearing checked on an annual basis. This way you can catch hearing loss early and prevent it from affecting your speech comprehension or cognition.
Recognizing the Signs
Most hearing loss cases occur gradually, over the course of a few years. When this happens, it can be difficult to recognize the signs right away. Symptoms can vary, but these are the most common indicators of hearing loss:
Types of Hearing Loss
Not every hearing loss is the same. There are three different types of hearing loss: sensorineural, conductive, and mixed.
Sensorineural hearing loss is the most common and occurs when there is damage to the nerve pathways of the inner ear or to the cochlea. Common causes include loud noise exposure, age, genetics, ototoxic medications, head trauma, or underlying health conditions. Sensorineural hearing loss is irreversible but can be managed with hearing aids.
Conductive hearing loss is less common and occurs when sound cannot be conducted from the outer and middle ear to the inner ear. This is often due to earwax blockage, ruptured eardrum, ear infection, or fluid in the middle ear. This type of hearing loss can be corrected medically.
Mixed hearing loss is a combination of sensorineural and conductive. Treatment would include visiting a medical doctor to clear the conductive portion and wearing hearing aids to manage the sensorineural portion.
Why Managing Hearing Loss Matters
Hearing loss doesn’t just affect the individual, it affects the whole family. When you can’t hear well due to untreated hearing loss, you miss out on important spoken information. This can make it difficult to communicate, maintain meaningful relationships, and even risk your safety.
When left untreated, hearing loss can put a strain on your relationships and mental capabilities. Your brain relies on your hearing to process sounds and make sense of the world around you. When you can’t hear well, your brain has to work harder, leaving little left over to commit to memory and cognition. This is why individuals with untreated hearing loss have an increased risk of developing dementia.
To take care of your whole health, you should start by taking care of your hearing. Contact our office today to schedule a hearing exam and be proactive about your well-being.