Hearing loss does not pose a health risk; you can live without it, but unfortunately, it causes many difficulties for the patient. Fortunately, thanks to the advancement of technology and medicine, it can effectively counteract hearing loss and deafness. Hearing loss rehabilitation allows you to improve the comfort of everyday life, and although some changes are irreversible, you do not have to deal with complete hearing loss for the rest of your life. Pharmacological and surgical treatment is available; you can choose a hearing aid or cochlear implant.
Hearing loss statistics
The statistics clearly show the increasing hearing loss problems in young people. The results of the research carried out by the National Institute of Health are disturbing. As many as 15% of the society struggles with various hearing disorders, which accounts for over 37 million adults. To better illustrate the scale of the problem, it is a similar number of people living in the state of California. Compared to hearing loss statistics for the world population, as many as 430 million people require rehabilitation for hearing loss. They have become commonplace in recent years and are only expected to worsen. Older people have the biggest problem with hearing loss, and it is the third most common chronic condition in the United States. It has also been observed that men are almost twice as likely to struggle with hearing problems than women. It mainly applies to people between the ages of 20 and 69, and to a large extent, they suffer from hearing loss due to exposure to noise in the workplace.
What are the signs of hearing loss?
Progressive hearing loss may already be evidenced by difficulties with hearing the words spoken by the interlocutor. If there is a need to ask for comments to repeat repeatedly, it is worth thinking about visiting an ENT specialist. It is worrying not to hear people you speak to on the phone. It should also be alarming to increase the volume of the TV or radio set constantly. Another symptom of hearing loss will be hearing ringing or tinnitus. You should see your doctor if you have difficulty talking in a noisy environment. After noticing the signs mentioned above, the best solution is to have a hearing test (check the online tool: https://www.phonak.com/us/en/online-hearing-test.html)
Causes and types of hearing loss
Mild hearing loss occurs when it is challenging to understand whispering and talking in a noisy environment. Moderate hearing loss is stated when it is necessary to increase the volume of the TV or radio to a level that disturbs other people. With severe hearing loss, speaking and talking in a group is difficult. The patient does not understand words if they are not spoken aloud by the interlocutor. We can talk about profound hearing loss when it is challenging to hear devices in the environment and speech becomes incomprehensible.
There are three types of hearing loss. Sensorineural hearing loss affects the inner ear and most often results from damage to the hair cells. Conductive hearing loss is mainly the result of mechanical abnormalities in the middle or outer part of the ear. Often the cause is an obstruction in the ear canal. A wax plug or a foreign body may be responsible for this. The resulting barrier prevents sounds from getting into the eardrum. There can also be mixed hearing loss, i.e., sensorineural and conductive loss. The most common causes of hearing loss are aging, exposure to noise, various diseases, genetics, and ototoxicity. Sensorineural hearing loss is often caused by shingles, viral diseases, ototoxic drugs, diabetes, stroke, obesity, and tumors. The causes of conductive hearing loss are the usual infections of the ear canal or middle ear, perforation of the eardrum or its calcification, ankle injury, and growths.
Treatment of hearing loss
In the case of sensorineural hearing loss, the most common method of hearing loss rehabilitation is using a hearing aid. If it is conductive, hearing aids are also used. The most important thing is diagnostics to determine the hearing loss so that appropriate treatment methods can be selected. The degree of the defect, its cause, lifestyle, and the patient’s financial capabilities are also significant. A cochlear implant or other assistive devices can be used for hearing loss. Speech therapy and auditory rehabilitation are helpful.
As the percentage of people struggling with hearing loss is growing swiftly, it is crucial to make society aware of the scale of the problem and encourage prevention. America can boast of innovative hearing care and has effective diagnostic and therapeutic methods, allowing for complete hearing recovery or improving quality of life. It is worth doing a hearing test prophylactically because many people are unaware they may have any problems with it. The incidence of hearing loss increases with age, especially in people over 60.
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