Hearing loss is difficult at any age, although it more commonly affects older adults. Roughly one-third of Americans 65 to 74 years of age have some hearing loss, and 47% of those 75 and older suffer from hearing loss.
In order to fully understand hearing loss, it is important to know how the ear works. There are different types of hearing loss: sensorineural, conductive and mixed. Generally, most people with hearing loss can be helped with hearing technology.
Hearing loss can be caused by aging, heredity, trauma or disease. Some hearing loss may be medically or surgically treated while other hearing loss may be permanent. However, in many cases, hearing loss can be aided with hearing aid technology.
It is critical to have your hearing checked by an experienced ear doctor, or otolaryngologist, who can make the appropriate recommendations for you. Your hearing testing will be administered by an audiologist, who would make the referral to the otologist, if necessary.
If you are not sure about your hearing, ask yourself the following questions. If you answer "yes" to three or more of these questions, you could have a hearing problem and should have your hearing checked by an audiologist.
- Do I have a problem hearing on the telephone?
- Do I often ask people to repeat themselves?
- Do I have trouble hearing the other person speaking when there is noise in the background?
- Is it hard for me to follow a conversation when two or more people talk at once?
- Do many people I talk to seem to mumble or not speak clearly?
- Do I misunderstand what others are saying and respond inappropriately?
- Do I have trouble understanding the speech of women and children?
- Do people complain that I turn the TV volume up too high?
- Do I hear a ringing, roaring, or hissing sound a lot?
- Do some sounds seem too loud or too soft?
--Adapted from the NIH Senior Health
If you suspect you have hearing loss, your doctor will refer you to an otolaryngologist, an ear doctor, as well as an audiologist, who will test your hearing. If your hearing loss is moderate, your audiologist may suggest fitting you with a hearing aid or other alternatives to hearing aids.
If you need a hearing aid, the audiologists at Hopkins Hearing have the experience and expertise to help find the right hearing aid or assistive listening device for your lifestyle and needs. We work with the manufacturers who make and develop current advanced hearing technologies and have a wide array of hearing aids for you to choose from. Your audiologist will work closely with you on testing, fitting and fine tuning your hearing device.