It is estimated that 31.5 million people report having hearing difficulty that is approximately 10 percent of the U.S. population. Did you know that: 15 percent of “baby-boomers” (ages 45-64) have hearing loss, 29 percent of people over age 65 have hearing loss, the majority (65 percent) of people with hearing loss are below retirement age, and at least 1.4 million children have hearing problems. These statistics are sometimes startling because of the common myths that surround hearing loss; such as: “hearing loss affects only elderly” and “if I had a hearing loss, my family doctor would have told me.”
Research by the National Council on the Aging on more than 2,000 people with hearing loss as well as their significant others demonstrated that hearing aids clearly are associated with impressive improvements in the social, emotional, psychological, and physical well-being of people with hearing loss in all hearing loss categories from mild to severe. Hearing loss treatment was shown to improve: earning power, communication in relationships, intimacy and warmth in family relationships, ease in communication, emotional stability, sense of control over life events, perception of mental functioning, and physical health. Continued research in the field of hearing loss coupled with technological advancements has created breakthroughs in the identification of how we hear. This greater understanding has led to audiological advances for hearing loss treatment making help available for almost anyone with hearing loss. Your audiologist can help determine the type and degree of your hearing loss, as well as the style and type of hearing aid that would most appropriately fit your hearing loss.
Common signs of hearing loss include:
• Require frequent repetition.
• Have difficulty following conversations involving more than two people.
• Think that other people sound muffled or like they’re mumbling.
• Have difficulty hearing in noisy situations, like conferences, restaurants, malls, or crowded meeting rooms.
• Have trouble hearing children and women.
• Have your TV or radio turned up to a high volume.
• Answer or respond inappropriately in conversations.
• Have ringing in your ears.
• Read lips or more intently watch people’s faces when they speak with you.
If any of the situations above apply to you, you might have a hearing loss and it is time to have your hearing tested. Hearing problems can get worse if left untreated. To find out if you have a hearing loss, contact your local Audiologist for an evaluation. Private Health Insurances, Medicare, and Medicaid will cover the cost of the hearing test.
Dr. Heidi Roberts is an audiologist and owner of Island Audiology, 13999 Gulf Blvd., Suite C-4, Madeira Beach.