Hearing Loss Overview
Hearing loss can affect anyone.
While hearing loss is most common in older adults, it can affect people of any age, and some babies are even born with it. Between the ages of 60–69, about one-third of people have hearing loss. Above age 69, somewhere between half and two-thirds of people have it. It is the third most common chronic health concern in America.
Hearing loss doesn’t only affect the person who has it. It can be painful for loved ones to lose the ability to communicate easily with a spouse or family member who has hearing loss. Indeed, those who treat hearing loss with hearing aids commonly see an improvement in their relationships with friends and family.
Causes of Hearing Loss
- Noise exposure
- Infections such as otitis media (middle ear infection) and meningitis
- Traumatic brain injury
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Meniere’s disease and other diseases of the inner ear
- Autoimmune diseases
- Ototoxic medications, like certain life-saving cancer drugs
- Some neurological disorders like multiple sclerosis
- Earwax build up
- Birth defects, such as a structural malformation of the ear
Problems Related to Hearing Loss
While hearing loss may once have been imagined as a relatively benign part of getting older, today we know much more. The consequences of untreated hearing loss include loneliness, depression, anxiety, decreased physical activity, increased risk of accidental injury, increased risk of cognitive decline and dementia, and more.
Untreated hearing loss is one of the main causes of decreased quality of life in older adults. Treating hearing loss doesn’t just make communication more convenient—it is critical to maintaining our health and well-being over time. If you suspect that you or a loved one may have hearing loss, please make an appointment for a hearing test today. While hearing loss can be devastating when left untreated, the use of a good set of hearing aids can nearly eliminate the risk of adverse outcomes related to hearing loss.