Facts and Fictions about Hearing Loss

  • By pugetsound
  • 10 Apr, 2017
Hearing loss is a condition that we often do not think about until it affects us. As an invisible condition, hearing loss tends to be ignored or overlooked. It is estimated that people wait an average of seven years from the time they first notice changes in their hearing to the time they decide to seek treatment. As with many things, knowledge is power when it comes to hearing loss. Here we dispel the common myths about hearing loss and provide you with solid information about this common condition. Fiction:Hearing Loss Does Not Affect Young People Fact:Hearing loss could occur in any age group. While it is true that hearing loss is more commonly found among older Americans (age 65 and older), it also affects children, teenagers, and young adults. In fact, the World Health Organization recently estimated that 1.1. billion young people are at risk for hearing loss. Among older people, presbycusis (age-related hearing loss) is common. However, in younger populations, noise-induced hearing loss has revealed itself to be a rapidly growing medical condition. Between exposure to sounds of high volume through earbuds to attending live music events, young people experience dangerous decibels that could threaten their hearing by the time they are in their 20s. In fact, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that 20 percent of people in their 20s are already experiencing some degree of hearing loss. According to Dr. Mandy Weinzierl of Indiana University, “We start losing our hearing as soon as we are born. It happens slowly so that it doesn’t interfere with communication, but it is inevitable that we’ll lose some of our hearing.” Fiction:Hearing Loss is Harmless and is Just a Minor Annoyance Fact:The reality is, hearing loss affects more than just your ears. In fact, our auditory processing happens in our brains. When sounds enter our ears, they are eventually translated into vibrations, then into electric messages received by the auditory center in our brains, which are recognized as sounds. As such, researchers at Johns Hopkins have found that untreated hearing loss greatly affects our cognitive abilities. When our brains struggle to make sense of muddled sound signals, our cognitive abilities are diminished because more energy is required to hear. Johns Hopkins researchers have found potential links between a higher risk of dementia and untreated hearing loss. Fortunately, there’s a solution: the prescription of hearing aids greatly improves your cognitive abilities. Hearing loss also affects your ability to communicate, which means your interpersonal relationships are at jeopardy the longer you wait to treat your hearing. People tend to avoid social interactions and situations that are difficult for listening, which eventually could lead to an increased risk for anxiety and depression. By treating hearing loss with hearing aids, you’ll find confidence to re-engage with your social life and activities. Fiction:Lack of Exposure in Daily Life to Dangerous Levels of Sound Fact:Our sense of hearing is always on. This means that no matter where we are, our ears are picking up sounds in our environment. This keeps us safe, but if we don’t protect our hearing in certain situations, we could be putting our hearing at risk. Permanent hearing loss occurs when we are exposed to high levels of sound for long periods of time. How high is too high, and how long is too long? Hearing specialists tell us that sounds at 85 decibels should not be listened to for more than 8 hours a day. Most people who work in loud professions, such as factory work or construction, use hearing protection provided by employers. It is those of us who work in industries that may not be obviously loud that are at risk. Dentists, hair stylists, nursery school teachers – these are a few professions exposed to high-frequency or high-decibel sounds on a daily basis. The general rule is, if you have to raise your voice to speak to someone about arm’s length away, your workplace is too loud. Outside of work, your leisure activities may also be harming your ears. Hunters, DIY-home improvement project enthusiasts, and people who love mowing the lawn are all exposed to high levels of sound on a regular basis. The use of custom ear protection helps ensure your hearing safety. Fiction:I Would Know If I Experienced Hearing Loss Fact:With higher levels of hearing loss, that could be true. But most people may not realize they are experiencing hearing loss. The best way to know for sure is to take a hearing test. Hearing tests provide you a reading of your current hearing abilities. If a hearing loss is detected, we’ll work with you to find a solution. If you’ve never had a hearing test, or if you’ve never thought about the possibility of hearing loss, contact us at one of our Puget Sound Hearing Aids and Audiology today!

Puget Sound Hearing & Audiology

By pugetsound 14 Jul, 2017
Tinnitus, which is often referred to as a “ringing of the ears,” affects 45 million Americans, including a large number of war veterans. Individuals suffering from tinnitus will hear pops, white noise, whistles, bursts of air without any external auditory stimulus; tinnitus is a sound that comes from within. Though tinnitus has been linked with hearing loss, there is no singular cause for it. There are two types of tinnitus, subjective and objective. Objective tinnitus is rare, comprising of less than 1% of tinnitus cases; with this type, both the person experiencing tinnitus and a person sitting nearby can hear the sounds. On the other hand, subjective tinnitus is the most common type, comprising 99% of cases. Subjective tinnitus is often linked with hearing loss. The Hearing Health Foundation estimates that 90% of tinnitus cases occur with an underlying hearing loss.
By pugetsound 11 Jul, 2017
Though hearing loss is the third most common medical condition in the United States, it is not often discussed. In some cases, discussing hearing loss comes with the taboo of aging, while in other cases, people simply don’t notice because it is an invisible condition. As an invisible condition, hearing loss tends to develop gradually, sometimes over a span of many years. While hearing loss may affect people at any age, it tends to be most common among people age 65 years or older. Regardless of age, hearing loss affects 20% of the population in the US. People with hearing loss tend to treat the condition with hearing aids. Hearing aids provide people with hearing loss access to clear sounds and improved speech recognition, among a number of other incredible features. Hearing aids bring significant benefit to people who experience hearing loss; they reconnect people to the sounds in their life. Even with hearing aids, however, people with hearing loss find themselves in situations where communication may be difficult. In other instances, there are myths that need to be dispelled about hearing loss. Here, we’ve compiled the Internet for things people with hearing loss wish others understood about the condition.
By pugetsound 03 Jul, 2017
When we think of hearing loss, we tend to think about how we have to turn up the volume on our devices, or how it affects communication with our friends and family. Untreated hearing loss has long been linked to a range of health problems, as revealed by medical studies concerning areas such as dementia, balance, heart disease, and depression. As the third most common medical condition, hearing loss affects 48 million Americans, and one in three people over the age of 60. Approximately 60% of the workforce experiences some degree of hearing loss. While we tend to think of hearing loss affecting many circumstances external to us, it is also important to take a look inward. In the past few years, new light has been shed on how hearing loss affects our energy levels and our emotional well-being. A series of studies have linked untreated hearing loss to fatigue, including how hearing loss may affect the daily activities of people who are experiencing changes in their hearing – but have yet to seek treatment. Here we take a look at some of these studies and provide a few tips on self-care to prevent hearing loss fatigue.
By pugetsound 30 Jun, 2017
Hearing loss, if left untreated, has the potential to adversely affect many different areas of your life. Studies have indicated that people with untreated hearing loss tend to have lower earning power than colleagues who treat hearing loss with hearing aids. Additionally, people with untreated hearing loss are at higher risk for accidents, falls, and developing dementia. While these scenarios are more serious implications of untreated hearing loss, there is another side. We know that untreated hearing loss could affect our interpersonal relationships, due to difficulties with communication. Over time, people with untreated hearing loss withdraw and isolate themselves, so they do not have to struggle with communication. As such, people with hearing loss tend to be at risk for depression and anxiety. Researchers from Washington State University further explore this connection with a study on the link between your mood, dopamine levels, and hearing loss.
By pugetsound 30 Jun, 2017
Along with moisture and dirt, background noise is one of the greatest foes for people with hearing aids. While most hearing aids are equipped with features to help you cut through background noise to access clear sound, you may still find yourself in situations where the background noise may be too much. Here, we provide tips for hearing in noisy environments.
By pugetsound 23 Jun, 2017
Have you ever wondered what people in the past did when they experienced hearing loss? What about hearing loss itself – when was it formally recognized as a medical condition? Today, we are fortunate to have some of the most advanced hearing devices available to us. Modern hearing aids are fast, smart, and sleek – barely noticeable, with the incredible processing powers akin to computers. In fact, today’s hearing aids are closely aligned with other fast, wireless, smart electronic devices, such as smartphones and tablets. Likewise, the history of hearing aids has closely followed the advent of mechanization and electric devices in the 19th and 20th centuries. Let’s take a journey back in time through a brief history of hearing aids to see how we arrived where we have today.
By pugetsound 20 Jun, 2017
From floods, fires and power outages to natural disasters like earthquakes and hurricanes, emergencies can strike at any time, and often there is little we can do to prevent them. What we can do is plan ahead, making sure that in the event of an emergency we have the resources we need to weather the storm. If you, or your friend, family member or neighbor is hearing impaired, planning ahead means preparing a few extra items to ensure that communication will be possible, even in the worst circumstances. Here are a few steps that will help keep you and your loved ones safe.
By pugetsound 16 Jun, 2017
Hearing loss is a natural part of the normal aging process. It affects a significant portion of those over the age of sixty-five. Now that Baby Boomers are approaching this life stage, we’ll probably be hearing more and more about the effects of this phenomena, as a much larger percentage of our population will now be dealing with these challenges than ever before. A recent study by the National Council on Aging found that people with hearing loss were 50% more likely to experience depression. Of particular note is that this was specific to those with untreated hearing loss, making early detection and intervention even more important.
By pugetsound 12 Jun, 2017
About 20 percent of American adults, or 48 million, have some degree of hearing loss . Many of these adults are parents, and even more are grandparents. Parents with hearing loss often face additional challenges, from not being able to hear their newborn’s cry to understanding a child’s soft voice. For this Father’s Day, to celebrate the vital role that fathers play in their children’s lives, let’s take a look at a few techniques that can help hard of hearing parents connect with their little ones.
By pugetsound 06 Jun, 2017
Hearing is one of the five senses we rely on to take in information from the world around us, to help us make decisions, to stay safe, and to stay connected. Our sense of hearing developed over centuries, along with sight, taste, touch, and smell, to help us survive. They work in conjunction with each other; when one sense is impaired, another one steps up. For example, when ancient humans were in the dark, they relied on hearing to gather information about their surroundings. Without the conveniences of fire or electricity, it was footsteps on leaves or rocks that notified them that they were not alone. Even more remarkably, hearing does not stop working – unlike sight. When we fall asleep, we wake up because of an alarm. We take in sound information from all 360 degrees of our surroundings. Our auditory systems can pick up sounds that are close by, like a fan next to our bed, to sounds that are far outside our homes, such as a distant ambulance siren. With two ears, this is known as binaural hearing – the harmonizing of sounds picked up by both ears. For the most part, when you experience hearing loss, both ears are affected. In some cases, people experience single-sided hearing loss, and there are specially designed hearing devices for these instances. For people who experience hearing loss in both ears – bilateral hearing loss – one hearing aid just isn’t enough. Think about it – when you listen to music through a stereo, isn’t the sound better when you’re using both speakers? Similarly, two hearing aids are better than one, when you’re experiencing bilateral hearing loss.
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