Hearing loss affects one in eight people in the United States, and over half of those aged 65 or older. Severe hearing loss can significantly impact an individual’s quality of life. Yet, so few people are aware of the signs and symptoms of hearing loss that they allow their hearing to get increasingly worse before seeking treatment.
Before we get into symptoms, it’s essential to recognize that there isn’t just one type of hearing loss. There are three:
- Conductive (outer and middle ear)
- Sensorineural (inner ear)
- Mixed (combination of outer, middle, and inner ear)
Factors that can increase one’s risk for hearing loss include consistent exposure to loud noises, aging, and wax buildup.
If you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms, you should seek medical attention from a hearing specialist or your primary care provider.
- Muffled speech
- Difficulty understanding words
- Frequently asking others to repeat themselves
- Having to turn up the volume of the TV or radio
- Sudden loss of hearing in one or both ears
Most importantly, if your level of hearing is at all interfering with your quality of life, you should make an appointment to see your doctor.
Unfortunately, most forms of hearing loss aren’t reversible, but there are devices such as hearing aids that can help improve those suffering from hearing loss in their everyday lives. As with most ailments, prevention and annual examinations with a primary care provider are key!