Hearing loss may be more common than you think. “It’s estimated that nearly 30 million Americans would benefit from the use of hearing aids, but unfortunately, a far smaller number actually get them,” according to Sonus Hearing Care Professionals.
People often put off getting their hearing checked, either thinking it’s unnecessary or assuming hearing loss won’t affect them until they’re older. Here’s why a hearing screening should be a routine part of your yearly wellness check.
Hearing loss can occur gradually at any stage of life
You may not realize you’re experiencing hearing loss at first because it can happen so imperceptibly and at any age. One sign that your hearing may be diminishing is if you have a hard time understanding when others talk in a noisy room or on the phone. You may also notice that you have trouble hearing the radio or television at levels that are loud enough for other people.
Hearing loss often stems from one of two sources, though there could be many causes. Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) affects between 6 and 24 percent of U.S. adults under age 70, according to research reported by the National Institutes of Health. Another study found symptoms of noise-induced hearing loss in up to 17 percent of youths ages 12 to 19.
Major sources of NIHL include doing any of the following without hearing protections: snowmobile riding, listening to loud music through earbuds or headphones, lawn mowing, leaf blowing, target shooting, hunting and attending loud concerts.
Age-induced hearing loss is often a combination of NIHL over the course of a lifetime, changes to the middle and inner ear as people age and changes along nerve pathways that connect the ear to the brain. Diabetes, high blood pressure and certain medications have also been associated with hearing loss.