Your Questions, Your Answers
The matters of hearing health and hearing loss have a broad range of personal and medical implications – looking for the answers you need can get overwhelming.
For your quick reference, we’ve collected a few of the more popular questions that Audiologists are asked:
Question: What are the different ways my hearing loss can be treated?
Great place to start. With advances in hearing devices and medical treatment options that are constantly expanding, hearing loss often doesn’t have to be considered a permanent circumstance. Let’s consider a few conditions and their treatments:
- Infections that affect hearing (most of which occur in the middle ear) can be treated with an antibiotic.
- Hearing loss caused by an injury or trauma to the ear or head may subside on its own, but in some cases, corrective surgery is needed.
- Otosclerosis, Acoustic Neuroma, Ménière's disease or Mondini Syndrome may require medicine or surgery.
- Hearing loss caused by earwax is treated by removing the wax. This process can often be delicate and should be done by a professional.
Permanent hearing loss (which is usually age-related or noise-induced) can be treated with hearing aids to fully restore hearing…and quality of life.
Find out more about how an Audiologist can help you with your hearing loss.
Question: Can hearing loss occur from exposure to one loud sound?
Yes, a single loud noise can cause deafness. But what is most often the case is that the hearing loss will only last a few hours or a day. Repeated exposure to loud noise however can do significant damage.
Question: Is age a factor with sudden hearing loss?
No. Although hearing loss is very commonly connected to older people, sudden hearing loss is not connected to age – young or old.
Question: What if a hearing loss is identified in a newborn?
Like so many health issues, the earlier it is caught, the better. The goal of newborn hearing screening is to begin intervention services by six months of age if needed. This includes properly fitting the infant with a hearing device, family communication strategies, early childhood services, and parental support groups.
Question: Is hearing loss hereditary?
Not in most cases. As you may have read elsewhere on our site, the most frequent causes of hearing loss are infections, repeated exposure to loud sounds, and aging. But occasionally genetics play a role such as with Connexin 26, a protein that is the most common cause of congenital sensorineural hearing loss. Learn more about Connexin 26.
Is hearing loss serious?
It’s scarier than it is serious. Most cases of hearing loss are easily treated in various ways. When it is permanent, a hearing aid can be used to restore hearing to a very comfortable level.
Hearing loss by the numbers
Finally, we’d like to share some of the most important statistics regarding hearing loss – many of which may surprise you.
- Approximately 3 million children in the U.S. have a hearing loss which can significantly impact speech/language development and education. 1.3 million of them are under the age of three!
- More than a million school-aged children have a hearing loss that can affect their rate of learning.
- About one out of three U.S. adults 65 or older is affected by hearing loss.
- Only one out of four people that would benefit from a hearing aid wear one.
- Between 30 and 40% of people over 65 have hearing loss.
- 30 million Americans are exposed to dangerous noise levels every day – ten million have suffered irreversible noise-induced hearing loss.
- Today’s youth are hearing more, but not better. Concerts, sporting events, headphones, and even movie theaters have left 15 out of every 1,000 people under the age of 18 with hearing loss.
- Hearing loss occurs in 5 out of every 1,000 newborns.
- Exposure to a noisy subway, for just 15 minutes a day, can cause permanent damage to hearing over time.
- People with hearing loss wait an average of 7 years before seeking help.
- Only 16% of physicians routinely screen for hearing loss.