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Age related hearing loss often remains untreated. In fact, only a third of people who could benefit from treatment, actually receive it. The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) estimates that 1 in 3 adults, ages 65-74, have some degree of hearing loss. Additionally, half of all adults, 75 and older, have disabling hearing loss. Though hearing loss is the third most common medical condition that older adults experience, it still remains widely undertreated.
Hearing loss symptoms that are not treated can have multifaceted effects on everyday life. Not only do symptoms strain hearing and communication, but they often take a toll on relationships as well as social life and health. It is important to recognize and acknowledge hearing loss as well as intervene as early as possible to seek treatment. Treating hearing loss offers countless benefits that enable people to live full and active lives.
Age Related Hearing Loss is Often Undertreated
Extensive research shows that age related hearing loss tends to be undertreated. Studies highlight a widespread inaction when it comes to hearing loss. This includes a recent study that was published by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. This study involved surveying nearly 2,500 adults and researchers found that:
- 2 in 10 adults have had a hearing test in the past 5 years, compared to 6 in 10 adults who have had their vision tested.
- More than 51% of people reported hearing issues but only 11% have sought treatment.
- 78% of those with hearing issues have been experiencing these challenges for 1 or more years, and over 35% have had trouble for 5 or more years
These findings show how common it is to ignore hearing loss symptoms, even when experienced for a number of years. Untreated hearing loss can not only worsen impairment but the toll it often takes on one’s health.
Recognizing Early Signs
What often contributes to a delay in hearing loss treatment is that symptoms can not be immediately recognized. Hearing loss typically occurs over time and this gradual process can mean that symptoms are unnoticed for quite some time. Being able to recognize symptoms and identify hearing loss can support earlier intervention. Early signs of hearing loss include:
- Tinnitus: a ringing or buzzing like noise in one or both ears that only you can hear.
- Sounds are muffled or distorted.
- Struggling to hear in environments with background noise .
- Lip reading to identify individual words.
- Asking others to repeat what they said, speak louder, and/or slower .
- Pretending to hear to get through a conversation.
- Increasing the volume on electronic devices like the TV or phone.
- Hearing is better in one ear compared to the other.
- Moving to a quieter room to be able to hear better.
- Keeping up with a conversation is difficult.
- Feeling fatigued after conversations.
These symptoms can range from mild to more profound, depending on the degree of hearing loss present. This makes it tough to hear and navigate communication, affecting relationships as well as social life and health.
Treating Hearing Loss
It is important to know that there are effective ways that hearing loss is treated. The most common treatment is hearing aids which are electronic devices that are designed to absorb, amplogy, and process speech as well as sound. This provides the ears and brain with ample support, alleviating symptoms and maximizing hearing capacity. Hearing aids strengthen hearing and communication which improves relationships, social life, and overall health. Studies have shown that hearing aids strengthen cognitive functions which support brain health, increase spatial awareness and safety, as well as boost overall wellness.
The first step towards treatment is having your hearing evaluated by a hearing healthcare specialist. Hearing tests involve a painless and noninvasive process that measures hearing capacity in both ears. This identifies any hearing loss, the type, and specific degree of impairment in each ear. Once your hearing needs are established, your hearing healthcare provider is able to tailor treatment to meet those needs. Treating hearing loss can transform your everyday life by supporting you in navigating daily environments with greater ease.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a hearing consultation. We look forward to helping you prioritize your hearing health and wellness.