There are many misconceptions and preconceived notions when it comes to hearing loss. The following facts will help you understand the nature of this common physical condition.
- Hearing loss affects people both young and old. Contrary to stereotypes, about 2/3 of patients are under the age of 65.
- Aging and noise exposure are the most common causes of hearing loss. Others include impacted earwax, injury or trauma, disease, hereditary factors and benign tumors.
- Sensorineural hearing loss, often referred to as nerve deafness, is the result of inner ear damage and the most common type of hearing loss. It is rarely curable, but can usually be treated effectively with hearing aids.
- Conductive hearing loss is caused by damage to the outer and/or middle ear. This type may be treatable with medication or surgery.
- People with hearing loss aren’t always aware of their condition. Symptoms develop gradually, and many patients become accustomed to their diminished hearing capacity.
- Signs of hearing loss include having trouble following conversations when background noise is present, feeling like speech is muffled or unclear, asking other speakers to repeat themselves often, avoiding social activities and listening to the radio or TV at volume levels others find too loud.
- Noise-induced hearing loss is one of the most common types – and in many cases, it can be prevented. If you are going to be exposed to dangerous noise levels (85 decibels or higher) for even brief periods of time, whether on the job or during recreational activities, be sure to wear proper hearing protection.