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The Hood Magazine

What You Need to Know About Hearing Loss

04/26/2019 03:36PM ● By Digital Media Director

By: Sioux Falls Audiology

Hearing loss is third most common physical condition behind arthritis and heart disease, affecting people of all ages. A whopping 466 million people in the world have disabling hearing loss. Of which, 34 million are children alone.  There are several causes of hearing loss including, ear infections, ototoxic medications, acoustic trauma, auto immune disease, genetics, head injuries, cerebral vascular disease, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.  Age is the strongest predictor of hearing loss among adults ages 20-69, those age 60-69 have the greatest amount of hearing loss.  Adult men (age 20-69) are twice as likely to have hearing loss than women of the same age.

Approximately 2-3 of every 1,000 children in the United States are born with a detectable hearing loss in one or both ears. More than 90 percent of deaf children are born to hearing parents Fifteen percent of school-age children (6-19) have some degree of hearing loss. 30 million Americans age 12 and older has hearing loss in both ears.

According to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), approximately 28.8 million adults in the United States could benefit from wearing hearing aids. Of the 28.8 million Americans (age 20-69) who could benefit from wearing hearing aids, fewer than 16 percent have ever used them.  Of those age 70 and older who could benefit from wearing hearing aids, fewer than 30 percent have ever used them.  Unaddressed hearing loss poses an annual global cost of US$ 750 billion.

Some of the effects of untreated hearing loss includes, increase risk of falls, increase risk of the onset of demetia, reduced job performance, isolation, increase risk of depression, irritability, and fatigue. 

Why do so many individuals put off seeking treatment for hearing loss? Factors may include the stigma of wearing a hearing aid may reflect a sign of aging, person thinks they hear fine even when being told otherwise, or hearing aids are too cumbersome to care for. The biggest factor can be expense; most insurance companies do not offer any benefit to off set the cost. Fortunately, with the advances in hearing aid technology, hearing aids are more affordable now than ever.  In summary, it is always a good idea to at least get a baseline hearing test, see where you are. Seek out a reputable Audiologist who specializes in diagnosing and treating hearing loss. When hearing loss is detected, early intervention may save expenses in the long term!