Hearing Loss

Many people suffer from hearing loss…

In fact, the latest available statistics show that over 10% of the U.S. population reports some degree of hearing loss! That’s over 31 million people! And as the Baby Boomer generation continues to age, that number promises to increase dramatically.

Are you are one of those millions of people who does not hear as well as they once did? If so, you are certainly not alone. Consider these statistics reported by Sergei Kochkin, Ph.D., Executive Director of the Better Hearing Institute:

  • 3 in 10 people over age 60 have hearing loss;
  • 1 in 6 baby boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964), or 14.6%, have a hearing problem;
  • 1 in 14 Generation Xers (born between 1965 and 1981), or 7.4%, already have hearing loss;
  • At least 1.4 million children (18 or younger) have hearing problems;
  • It is estimated that 3 in 1,000 infants are born with serious to profound hearing loss.

In addition, studies have linked untreated loss of hearing to emotional, physical, mental, psychological and even economic disadvantages. And, to make matters worse, there are many myths about loss of hearing that prevent those with an impairment from doing anything about it.

Causes of Hearing Loss

One of the most common myths about hearing loss is that only “old people” suffer from it. In fact, the reverse is true. The majority (65%) of people with hearing loss are younger than 65 and six million people in the U.S. between 18 and 44 suffer from loss of hearing.

The truth is that there are several causes of hearing loss with noise exposure ranking high among the reasons. The primary causes of hearing loss are:

  • Exposure to noise
  • Family history of hearing loss
  • Medicine
  • Aging process
  • Disease
  • Head trauma

Types of Hearing Loss

Not all loss of hearing can be corrected through the use of hearing aids or alternative listening devices. The type of hearing loss determines the specific treatment required.

There are four types of hearing loss:

  • Conductive: Affects the middle ear, ear canal, and eardrum. Can be caused by something as simple as earwax buildup. Often temporary and curable.
  • Sensorineural: Caused by nerve damage, this type of hearing loss affects the inner ear. It’s the most common type of loss of hearing, and is frequently treatable with hearing aids or assistive listening devices.
  • Mixed: This is a combination of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss.
  • Central: Strokes and central nerve diseases are often the cause of this type of hearing loss.