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Hearing Loss

Hearing Loss: When It’s Time to Seek Help

Hearing loss is one of the most common conditions that affect aging adults.

While hearing loss is a common issue for many adults, it doesn’t make it any less serious. Hearing loss can be incredibly frustrating, and can severely impact your day-to-day life if left untreated.

Your hearing can decline for many different reasons. A slow decline in hearing is a common symptom of growing older (age-related hearing loss), although hearing loss can also be caused by prolonged exposure to loud noises (noise-related hearing loss). Other health conditions, injuries and medications can also cause hearing loss.

Do I have a hearing problem?

Many people wonder about their level of hearing loss long before they ever take action. Ask yourself the following questions about your hearing. If you answer “yes” to multiple questions, consider talking with your doctor about treatment options.

  • Do you struggle to hear the TV or radio, even when it’s loud enough for others in the room to hear?
  • Do you avoid meeting new people or going to social gatherings because you struggle to hear others’ conversations?
  • Do your hearing issues ever cause you to argue with friends or family members?
  • Do you ever feel frustrated with friends or family members because you struggle to hear them?

Hearing loss doesn’t have to mean the end of life as you know it. Technology continues to progress, allowing for numerous treatments and devices to combat hearing difficulties. Depending on your type of hearing loss, you may consider:

  • Hearing aids. There are three main types of hearing aids — behind-the-ear, in-the-ear and in-the-canal models — that you can choose between. There are also other types of hearing aids that your doctor may recommend depending on your specific type of hearing difficulties.
  • Cochlear implants. A cochlear implant is a small, electronic device that sits behind the ear, with a second portion surgically placed under the skin. While a cochlear implant can’t restore your hearing, it can represent the sounds around you if you have severe hearing loss.
  • Assisted listening devices (ALDs). An ALD may be an option for you if standard hearing aids don’t work well enough to meet your needs. These devices amplify sound — especially in places with bad acoustics — while minimizing unnecessary and distracting background noise.

There are effective ways to combat hearing loss that will still allow you to live a normal, fulfilling life. If you or someone you love is struggling with decreased hearing, talk to your doctor about treatment options.

 

This article first appeared in the September 2019 edition of the HealthPerks newsletter.

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