Hearing loss is one of the most common health complaints in the United States. Older Americans, in particular, are at risk, with more than 30% of people aged between 64 and 74 suffering from hearing loss; after age 75, almost 50% of the population is affected. There are many possible sources of hearing loss, among them age, genetics, and long-term exposure to loud noises. People in certain occupations, such as musicians, carpenters, miners, and others who work in noisy environments, are at greater risk for hearing loss. Additionally, certain medications can contribute to hearing problems: some antibiotics, chemotherapy drugs, and drugs used to treat erectile dysfunction, among others, can have a detrimental effect on hearing.
The symptoms of hearing loss can be subtle and easy to miss, especially at first. Social withdrawal is a common symptom of hearing loss, as a person who has difficulty hearing and following conversations may find social interactions frustrating, and more trouble than they’re worth. Since many people become less social as they age, anyway, many older adults and their loved ones may not recognize social withdrawal as a symptom of hearing loss. Another key indicator of hearing loss is trouble hearing consonants: while vowel sounds may still be easy to detect, the consonants that give shape and meaning to words may fade. For people with hearing loss, speech and other sounds may seem muffled or indistinct. Needing to turn the volume up on the radio or television to ever-increasing levels is a symptom of hearing loss, as is consistently asking others to speak more loudly and slowly.
Hearing loss is often apparent, especially at first, in settings with a lot of background noise: people in the early stages of hearing loss may have trouble picking out certain words, or understanding the gist of a conversation, in a crowded setting, or one with lots of ambient noise. Hearing loss is a frustrating, though very common, part of aging. Although it can pose challenges in everyday life, new treatment technologies can help people with hearing loss to live full, satisfying lives with minimal impediment.
Edison Home Health Care is happy to advise and assist you or any loved one who seek appropriate care for hearing problems. Give us a call at 888-311-1142, or fill out a contact form and we will respond shortly.