Hearing Loss, What Is It?
“I didn’t realize how much my hearing loss was hurting the people around me”
Many people suffer from hearing loss…and we’re not just talking about the people whose hearing is diminished. Hearing loss affects friends, family, co-workers, business associates, and everyone a person with a hearing problem comes into contact with. The latest available statistics show that over 10% of the U.S. population reports difficulty hearing! That’s more than 31 million people! And as the Baby Boomer generation continues to age, that number promises to increase dramatically!
Are you someone who no longer hears as well as you once did? If so, you are certainly not alone. Consider these statistics reported by Sergei Kochkin, Ph.D., former Executive Director of the Better Hearing Institute:
3 in 10 people over age 60 have hearing loss
1 in 6 baby boomers (ages 41-59), or 14.6%, have a hearing problem
1 in 14 Generation Xers (ages 29-40), or 7.4%, already have hearing loss
At least 1.4 million children (18 or younger) have hearing problems
Estimates say 3 in 1,000 infants are born with serious to profound hearing loss
In addition, studies have linked untreated hearing loss to emotional, physical, mental, psychological and even economic disadvantages! And, to make matters even worse, there are many “myths” about hearing loss that prevent those with hearing loss from doing anything about it.
Our Hearing Loss e-book
We have made a hearing loss e-book free to download, so if you want some information about the types causes and treatments of the different types of hearing loss, please download it and read it at your leisure.
Are You Suffering From Hearing Loss? Do You Require Hearing Aids? Watch This Documentary To Know More
Permission to use this video was granted to Dr. Margaret Hutchison, Ph.D. from betterhearing.org
Hearing Loss, The Types and Causes
Having a hearing loss or hearing impairment means that your ability to hear has been diminished. There are many causes of hearing loss but it’s believed the most common cause is the ageing process. The name given for age related hearing loss, or acquired hearing loss is presbyacusis. Presbyacusis is a subset of what is known as Sensorineural hearing loss. What is most commonly called Nerve Deafness.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss
Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when the tiny hair cells in your cochlea (inner ear) that help pass sound information to the brain are injured, diseased, do not work correctly, or have died. Those hair cells are in fact nerve endings that are responsible for sending electrical stimulation to the brain. This type of hearing loss can’t be reversed at this time although there are hopes that in the future there may be treatment.
Sensorineural hearing loss is commonly caused by:
Childhood infections, such as meningitis, mumps, scarlet fever, and measles.
Regular exposure to loud noise which is called noise induced hearing loss. Noise exposure accelerates the natural deterioration of our hearing. Noise can do terrible and permanent damage.
A sensorineural hearing loss reduces the ability to hear faint sounds or discriminate speech. Even when speech is loud enough to hear, it may still be unclear or sound muffled. Speech is exceptionally difficult to hear in most cases if there are any competing sounds such as background noise.
Presbyacusis is an acquired sensorineural hearing loss which affects older people. Presbyacusis usually affects the mid and high frequencies, affecting speech discrimination. Presbyacusis is a gradual process, many factors could contribute to hearing loss such as noise in work, loud music, general environmental noise if you live in a noisy city, diet, ototoxic drugs, smoking, heart disease and stress.
Hearing loss affects around 10% of the population. In America it means there are around 31,000,000 people with a hearing problem or hearing impairment. unfortunately, only a small number of those who need a hearing aid system actually use one, many who don’t are putting themselves at many disadvantages and greatly reducing their quality of life.
There are many consequences of hearing loss physical, social and physiological. Hearing loss can lead to problems such as social exclusion, isolation from family and friends, depression, anger, stress, irritability, withdrawal, loneliness, embarrassment, denial, boredom, social rejection, feelings of inadequacy, misinformation, increased irritability, anxiety and fatigue.
Conductive Hearing Loss
Conductive hearing loss occurs when sound is not conducted efficiently through the outer ear canal to the eardrum and the tiny bones (ossicles) of the middle ear. Conductive hearing loss usually involves a reduction in sound level or the ability to hear faint sounds.Some possible causes of conductive hearing loss are
Fluid in the middle ear.
Ear infection (otitis media).
Infection in the ear canal.
Presence of a foreign body.
Absence or malformation of the outer ear, ear canal, or middle ear.
Mixed Hearing Loss
Sometimes a conductive hearing loss occurs in combination with a sensorineural hearing loss. In other words, there may be damage in the outer or middle ear and in the inner ear (cochlea) or auditory nerve. When this occurs, the hearing loss is referred to as a mixed hearing loss.
Untreated hearing loss has a great affect on life and relationships causing isolation and depression. There is a solution for almost everyone with a hearing loss, so if you think you have a problem get a hearing test and look at solutions. Nobody should suffer with this.
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What Our Patients Say
Dr. Margaret Hutchinson has been providing my hearing aid service since 2007. She is very kind and caring and patiently listens to my concerns. She made sure I understood what each type of aid provided to determine the most suitable aid for my hearing loss with a look toward future adjustments as well.