In honor of October being Audiology Awareness Month, we wanted to take a closer look at a few facts about hearing loss, as well as highlight steps you can take to protect your hearing health.
Anyone Can Have Hearing Loss, but It Becomes More Common as You Age
Hearing loss is a common problem that can affect anyone, including children and young adults. However, it also becomes much more common with age.
That is because as you get older, you are more likely to experience damage to your inner ear or auditory nerve, which affects hearing ability. This damage can be a result of the aging process or due to certain medications or illnesses like heart disease or diabetes.
Noise Exposure Is a Leading Cause of Hearing Loss
Along with age, exposure to loud noise is a leading cause of hearing loss, especially in younger people. Noise-induced hearing loss can be caused by repeated exposure to sounds above 85 decibels (dB). Common activities that put your ears at risk include:
- Loud work environments, like construction
- Attending live concerts or sporting events
- Hunting or shooting
- Listening to music at a high volume with headphones or earbuds
- Tasks like mowing the lawn or using a leaf blower
The good news is you can prioritize your hearing health and still participate in these activities by using proper hearing protection like custom earplugs or earmuffs.
Only a Fraction of People Who Need Hearing Aids Actually Use Them
Currently, millions of people in the United States could benefit from hearing aids, but don’t use them. Research shows us that among adults aged 70 and older who could benefit from hearing aids, less than 30% actually use them. That number drops to just around 16% for people between the ages of 20-69.
Untreated Hearing Loss Has Many Negative Consequences
While there are many reasons why people choose not to wear hearing aids, not treating your hearing loss can lead to a number of other problems, including:
- Trouble focusing at work
- Difficulty understanding speech and communicating with others
- Increased isolation and loneliness
- Higher rates of depression and anxiety
- Increased risk of balance issues and injury from falls
- Increased risk of cognitive decline and dementia
Hearing Aids Are Good for Your Health
Thankfully, treating your hearing loss with hearing aids can help you avoid these problems by keeping you connected to those you love and the world around you.
If you’ve noticed that you are struggling to follow conversations or need to turn the volume up on the TV louder than you used to, make an appointment for a hearing test. If hearing loss is discovered, your audiologist will work with you to find the right treatment that meets your needs and benefits your physical, mental and cognitive health.
For more information about hearing loss, call the experts at Midwest Hearing today.