Educational information on hearing loss and health.
What is Hearing Loss?
Approximately 48 million people in the U.S. experience hearing loss to some degree. However, people with hearing loss will wait an average of seven years before seeking help. This is largely due to the stigma surrounding hearing loss and many people not wanting to feel “old.”
Hearing loss is not the complete absence of sound, but rather those who are hearing impaired have a difficult time hearing certain sounds and frequencies, especially if there is competing noise. For many people, sounds may seem muffled or unclear.
Hearing loss can affect your overall health and well-being. Your ears enable you to control your balance, so hearing loss can also lead to balance problems, mental fatigue, and anxiety.
Causes of Hearing Loss
There are a few different types of hearing loss, sensorineural, conductive, and mixed. The common causes of sensorineural hearing loss (the most common type of hearing loss) include age, genetics, ototoxic medications, loud noise exposure, and underlying health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, or high blood pressure.
Conductive hearing loss is less common and can be caused by clogged ears, earwax impaction, ear infection, fluid in the middle, otosclerosis, or head/ear trauma.
Mixed hearing loss is a combination of sensorineural and conductive and the causes would be due to a combination of problems.
Signs of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss often occurs over time, making it difficult to recognize right away. Some common signs of hearing loss you should be aware of include:
Hearing and Brain Health
Our hearing plays a key role in our cognitive health and brain function. We need our hearing to provide our brains with the proper sounds it needs to stay active and healthy. When you have hearing loss that is left untreated, your brain won’t receive the proper sound signals it needs to process information. Over time this can lead to feelings of fatigue, forgetfulness, and cognitive decline.
Healthy hearing is an integral part of having an active and healthy brain. Studies have shown that individuals with untreated hearing loss are more likely to develop dementia compared to those who wear hearing aids.
Don’t let hearing loss affect your brain function, schedule an appointment today to discuss how hearing aids can help you!