Could you be experiencing the first signs of hearing loss?
Hearing loss can be traumatic whether it occurs right after birth or later on in life. Here are some facts about hearing loss people should know:
- It affects people of all ages including two out of every 1,000 children in the U.S. born with a detectable level of hearing loss in one or both ears, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders estimates that about 15 percent of Americans, or 26 million people between the ages of 20 and 69, have high frequency hearing loss because of noise at work or during leisure activities.
“When people start losing their hearing, many times ambient noise in the background prevents them from hearing conversations that might be right in front of them,” says Dr. Howard Kotler, otolaryngologist at Advocate Trinity Hospital in Chicago, “They may be able to hear some words and get the gist, but they can’t make out the whole conversation. Sometimes people don’t understand that this is a significant sign and they just figure it is part of life.”
Dr. Kotler says when slight hearing loss arrives, don’t wait to see the physician.
“Nobody wants to admit they are experiencing hearing loss, but do something about it now before it gets worse,” he says. “There is less of a social stigma for people wearing hearing aids because some of them are so small and unobtrusive you can barely see them. Remember when people used to be embarrassed about wearing glasses? Now, people who don’t even need them wear them as a fashion statement.”
While deafness can have some family history, more than 90 percent of deaf children are born to hearing parents.
Dr. Kotler suggests people receive an annual hearing tests, especially those who work in loud settings such as a factory.
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