Have you noticed any changes in your hearing recently, or started to have difficulty following conversations? Do you have trouble hearing in places with a lot of background noise, or find it impossible to understand what your grandkids are saying? If you or a loved one has been having difficulty hearing, you might have a few questions about hearing loss. You’re not alone, and many people are asking these common questions about hearing loss.
What Causes Hearing Loss?
There are a few causes of hearing loss. Age related hearing loss, or presbycusis, is caused by the normal wear and tear to your hearing that you experience throughout life. As the cells in the inner ear deteriorate and begin to wear out, you’ll experience hearing loss. This hearing loss is part of the normal aging process, but should still be treated with hearing aids.
Hearing loss can also be caused by exposure to excessively loud noise, and this is called noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). NIHL can be sudden, resulting from one extremely loud noise, or can happen after repeated exposure to dangerous noise levels at work, at the bar, or at a sports event. When you’re exposed to loud noise, the delicate hair cells in the inner ear are damaged, and aren’t able to send signals to the brain.
Hearing loss can also be genetic, and 2 to 3 out of every 1000 babies are born with hearing loss.
Is Hearing Loss Preventable?
Age-related hearing loss is a normal part of aging, and can’t be prevented. NIHL, on the other hand, is completely preventable. If you contentiously wear hearing protection whenever you’re in a loud place, you can avoid NIHL completely. Wondering how loud is too loud? If you have to yell to be heard by a person next to you, you need to be wearing hearing protection to keep your hearing sharp. Noises you want to protect your ears from include loud music, motorcycles, power tools, heavy machinery, firearms, fireworks, and personal listening devices with the volume on high.
Does Hearing Loss Affect My Overall Health?
Untreated hearing loss has been linked to a huge number of related health concerns including physical mental and emotional health. Those living with hearing loss are at higher risk of accidents, slips, and falls, and spend more time in hospital than their hearing peers.
Social isolation has a major impact on seniors, and those with hearing loss often find themselves outside the circle. While your friends and family would love to include you in events, your hearing loss prevents you from communicating easily, and engaging in conversations. You might choose to stay home rather than face the embarrassment of not being able to hear, or answer appropriately. You get tired of asking people to repeat themselves, and decide to just smile and nod rather than having meaningful conversations. This can lead to anxiety, stress, and depression.
Untreated hearing loss has also been linked to far higher rates of dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. As your hearing loss progresses, your cognitive abilities decline and your risk of dementia increases.
Do Hearing Aids Restore Hearing?
Today’s hearing aids are amazing pieces of equipment that can do all sorts of things. Complex programs and settings can be tailored to match your exact hearing loss and hearing needs, and you’ll find that you can easily follow conversations, even in places with background noise. You’ll be able to hear all the sounds around you, and enjoy music again. However, hearing aids can never completely restore the hearing that’s been lost. That’s why its so important to treat hearing loss early, and safeguard the hearing that you have.
When Should I Get my Hearing Tested?
If you’ve noticed any changes in your hearing, visit us today at Fidelity Hearing Centers for a hearing test. For seniors over the age of 60, we recommend yearly hearing tests to make sure you catch your hearing as early as possible. Our team of hearing specialists will determine your level of hearing loss, ask you questions about your lifestyle and hearing needs, and help you find the perfect device that will have you hearing at home, at work, and wherever you need a bit of extra help to hear.