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5 Things Everyone Should Know About Hearing Loss

Hearing loss can manifest itself in many ways, whether it is a slight buzzing or ringing that starts out subtly and increases over time, sensitivity to loud noise and, of course, the inability to hear as well as you used to.

But these are just a few of the things that those living with hearing loss experience. And according to doctors at the Ogden Clinic , when hearing loss begins to take hold of you, it is your very way of living that is affected.

In order to bring better understanding to this common occurrence, the Ogden Clinic has brought you these five things that everyone should know about hearing loss.

1. Hearing loss doesn’t just affect the elderly

One common misconception is that hearing loss is something that naturally comes with the aging body and affects only those with more years behind them. The fact of the matter is this: hearing loss is present in all age groups.

A recent study showed that 360 million people worldwide have disabling hearing loss and of those, 65 percent are below the age of 65; in fact, one in five teenagers has hearing loss.

2. Hearing loss increases risk of injury

The ability to hear makes one more completely aware of his or her surroundings. When that is taken away, even if it is a little bit, that poses a danger to the person with hearing loss.

For instance, a person with hearing loss may not hear a bike coming up behind them and fail to move before a collision.

A recent study done by Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and the National Institute of Aging found that people with hearing loss have a higher risk of falling, stating that the inability to hear decreases the person’s awareness of their overall environment, making tripping and falling more likely.

3. Some hearing loss is preventable

While many cases of hearing loss can be traced to genetics, brain injury, disease and even age, there are many causes, including extended exposure to loud noises.

These instances can be prevented, says Dr. Douglas Anderson of Ogden Clinic. “Noise induced hearing loss is common. Whether you work in excessive noise or are going to a concert, a sporting event, mowing the lawn or using power tools, ear protection is important. There are many different types of earplugs both custom and non-custom. Proper insertion and fit of the earplug is important.”

“When using earbuds for music,” Dr. Anderson continues, “the volume should be set to no more than half volume. Hearing loss can happen at any age so it’s important to protect your ears.”

4. Hearing loss negatively impacts social and emotional well-being

The inability to hear properly can also have a negative impact on the person’s social and emotional well-being.

You may be a person who thrives on social interaction, but because of hearing loss, now are no longer able to experience the joy you once did. Maybe you find that your loved ones have begun to leave you out of conversations, or you find it easier to stay alone because you tire of asking people to repeat themselves.

According to Audiologist Laurel Brewer of the Ogden Clinic, speech and hearing both have a direct connection with quality of life. “It is in correcting and improving communication skills where we can improve our emotional state, meaning less depression and more self-confidence.”

“When you start to miss out on what loved ones are saying this can impact and decrease your quality of life, that is a sure sign that you need to seek help,” she continues.

5. People wait too long to seek help

According to the Hearing Loss Association of America , individuals with hearing loss wait an average of seven years between the time they are affected by hearing loss and when they are fitted for a hearing device.

Some speculate that it is because of the big price tag that comes hearing assistive devices, keeping many of those who need one from getting one.

While these are valid concerns, consulting a professional for an evaluation is an important first step to improving your quality of life.

If you or your loved one struggles with hearing loss and want to know more about how to help improve quality of life, Ogden Clinic Ear, Nose & Throat specialists can help.