The Centers for Disease Control report hearing loss as the third most common health problem in the USA, trailing behind arthritis and heart disease but more common than either cancer or diabetes.
Despite these statistics, hearing care tends to be far down the list when it comes to healthcare screening and attention to health.
To encourage Ventura County residents and those in the surrounding communities to take hearing care more seriously, here is a quick look at some of the effects of hearing loss and signs that you should seek a hearing assessment.
Hearing Loss Prevalence
Hearing loss affects about 38.2 million people in the US, according to Johns Hopkins research. Within that number are some additional statistics, like:
- 1 out of 3 adults between 65 and 74 with half experiencing a hearing loss after age 75
- Of those over 50, 91% have a hearing loss
- The highest degree of hearing loss occurs in those over 80
- Men in their 50s are three times more likely to develop hearing loss, though women quickly catch up as they age.
The Impact of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss has a significant impact on both your finances and your health. Individual households spend $12,000 annually on average for hearing loss-related issues, a number cut in half through hearing aid use. Hearing care also impacts the overall health of individuals and their families.
Limited or non-existent hearing care puts you at a higher risk for cognitive decline, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Depression and anxiety increase in individuals with untreated hearing loss. Tinnitus, which affects 25% of American adults, is often a symptom of hearing loss. Higher incidences of hearing loss connect to those with heart disease, hypertension, or diabetes.
Hearing Loss Often Goes Untreated
Most people do not recognize the need for hearing assessments and proper hearing healthcare because it comes on gradually. Older adults usually experience a significant hearing loss before they are aware of the problem.
These gradual changes result from two main problems: not being familiar with the signs of hearing loss and failure to receive a proper hearing screening.
The Signs of Hearing Loss Are Unfamiliar
Age-related hearing loss usually follows a predictable course. The earliest signs usually include difficulty hearing high-pitched sounds like birds singing, doorbells, or crickets.
In addition, though you might easily understand conversations with men, the speech of women and children is muffled. As the condition progresses, you will miss the pronunciation of various high-pitched consonants like “s” or “f” and begin to misinterpret words containing “sh,” “th,” or “ch,” complicating your capacity to understand a conversation. Other early signs of hearing loss also include:
- Difficulty following conversations in environments with a lot of background noise (restaurants, sporting events, family gatherings, etc.)
- Frequently asking others to repeat themselves.
- Difficulty understanding telephone conversations
- Others complain that your television is too loud or advise you to “get your ears checked.”
Screening for Hearing Loss Is Not Common
Because most people do not recognize the financial and health impact hearing loss can have, nor are they familiar with the early warning signs of hearing loss, screening for hearing loss is not as common as it ought to be. The saddest part is that early assessment and treatment can head off the damage and limit the impact of hearing loss.
We’re Your Partners in Hearing Healthcare
Treatment for hearing loss can limit the impact it has on your lifestyle and quality of life, but proper treatment requires a hearing assessment.
West Coast Hearing and Balance Centers have the equipment and expertise to diagnose and treat hearing loss of all kinds and levels of severity.
If you or a loved one is over the age of 50 or you suspect that you are losing your hearing, contact us at our Simi Valley center or the location nearest you to schedule an appointment or for a (COVID safe) in-office appointment.