Hearing Loss Overview
Hearing loss is the third most common chronic health condition that older adults experience today. Impacting an estimated 48 million people, hearing loss is a public health epidemic. According to the Hearing Health Foundation, nearly 50% of adults older than 75 years and 33% of those between ages 64-75 have hearing loss. Additionally, young adults are increasingly at risk of developing hearing loss caused by exposure to loud noise from personal listening devices.
This prevalence of hearing loss highlights the critical need to prioritize hearing health which is what we are committed to at Excel Audiology! Understanding hearing loss – types, causes, symptoms – allows you to better understand your specific experience and is critical for effective treatment.
Types of Hearing Loss
The most common type of hearing loss that people experience. 90% of people with hearing loss have this type. Sensorineural hearing loss results from damage to the hair cells and/or nerves in the inner ear.
Far less common, conductive hearing loss impacts nearly 10% of people with impaired hearing. This type occurs when soundwaves are obstructed and prevented from reaching the inner ear effectively.
This type describes a combination of both sensorineural and conductive hearing loss.
Hearing Loss Causes
There are several causes that can contribute to the development of sensorineural hearing loss. Common factors include the following:
Signs of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss reduces a person’s ability to hear and process sound which produces a range of symptoms that can be experienced mildly to profoundly. This includes:
- Tinnitus: a buzzing, ringing, clicking like noise in one or both ears
- Sounds are muffled or slurred, making it difficult to distinguish words
- Increasing the volume on electronic devices (TV, phone, speaker etc.)
- Asking others to repeat themselves, speak louder, and/or slower
- Difficulty hearing in environments with background noise
- Experience fatigue after conversations and social interactions
- Lip reading to identify individual words and follow a conversation
It is important to pay attention to these symptoms and intervene as early as possible by scheduling an appointment to have your hearing examined.