Almost 20 percent of adults in the U.S. have some degree of hearing loss. While that sounds like a lot, that number may actually be low, since many who are experiencing hearing loss do not notice it right away.
The Different Types of Hearing Loss
While hearing loss can occur in a variety of different ways, there are three main types of hearing loss. These include:
- Sensorineural: the most common type of hearing loss in adults and occurs due to factors such as age, genetics, or noise exposure
- Conductive: often occurs when you have a buildup of wax or fluid in your ear
- Mixed: a combination of the above
The Older You Get, the Greater Your Risk
While hearing loss can occur in different ways, age and hearing loss often go hand in hand. In fact, hearing loss affects one in three people over the age of 65. Sensorineural hearing loss, sometimes called age-related or noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL), occurs over time, as everyday sounds and loud noises add to the wear and tear of our ears. But while some people are content with simply turning up the volume on their TV, there are other risk factors you should be aware of.
Consequences of Untreated Hearing Loss
While losing your hearing may not directly affect your physical health, it has been linked to a higher likelihood of dementia, depression and even isolation. A Johns Hopkins study found that over a six-year period the cognitive abilities of adults with hearing loss declined 30% to 40% faster than those without hearing loss. If that wasn’t enough, hearing loss has also been linked to a loss of income.
Men Are More at Risk
That’s right. Hearing loss has been found to affect more men than women. In fact, men are twice as likely to develop hearing loss than women. The exact reasons are unclear, but experts speculate it may have to do with the fact that men are more likely to work in noisy environments, and enjoy noisy hobbies like hunting.
Why You Need Hearing Protection
Do you work in a noisy environment, or do you enjoy noisy leisure activities? Are you finding it harder to hear people’s voices or follow conversations? Constant exposure to loud sounds can damage your hearing—and once your hearing is damaged there’s no reversing it. The only way to prevent noise-induced hearing loss is to wear hearing protection. If you work in a noisy environment, or if you’re going out and know you’re going to be exposed to loud noises, it’s important to protect your ears.
Hearing loss may not be reversible, but there are ways you can fight back. Hearing aids today are incredibly effective and come in a variety of different sizes and shapes. They also include a wide range of digital options, making them both virtually unnoticeable and incredibly innovative. They’re more powerful, too. In fact, hearing aids today have been found to improve the lives of 9 out of 10 people who wear them. Hearing care specialists at Miracle-Ear offer free hearing tests and free regular check-ups. If you’re concerned about your hearing, schedule an appointment today.