Only 13 percent of physicians routinely screen for hearing loss. Since most people with hearing impairments hear just fine in quiet environments (like your doctor’s office), it can be very difficult for your physician to recognize this problem. Only a trained hearing professional can determine the severity of your hearing problem, whether or not you could benefit from a hearing aid, and which type would be best for you.
Hearing loss can occur at any time, at any age. In fact, most people with hearing loss (65 percent) are younger than age 65! There are 6 million people in the US ages 18–44 with hearing loss, and around 1.5 million are school age.
- Audiologists are professionals with a master’s degree, Au.D. or Ph.D. in audiology, the study of hearing. They specialize in testing, evaluating, and treating hearing loss. An audiologist may also fit hearing instruments.
- Hearing Aid Dispensers are trained in fitting and dispensing hearing aids. Hearing aid specialists are often state-licensed and board-certified to test for hearing loss and to fit consumers for hearing aids.
- Otolaryngologists specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of ear, nose, throat, head, and neck disorders. Also known as ENT doctors.
The use of face masks and social distancing has been proven to reduce speech audibility, as well as eliminate important lip-reading cues, both critical to understanding speech. Hearing aids — and features like our Edge Mode and Mask Mode — help offset speech audibility loss in numerous ways and can help make it easier to hear people who are wearing masks.
Yes. There are three types of hearing loss:
- Sensorineural: The most common type, it occurs when the inner ear nerves (and hair cells) are damaged and do not properly transmit auditory signals to the brain. Can be treated with hearing aids.
- Conductive: Is typically the result of obstructions in the ear. Can usually be treated medically or surgically.
- Mixed: A combination of sensorineural and conductive.
There are several causes. The main ones include excessive noise, infections, genetics, birth defects, infections of the head or ear, aging, and reaction to drugs or cancer treatment.
Most of the time hearing problems begin gradually, without discomfort or pain. What’s more, family members often learn to adapt to someone’s hearing loss, without even realizing they are doing it. Here are some questions to ask yourself to determine whether you have hearing loss:
- Do I often ask people to repeat themselves?
- Do I have trouble following conversations with more than two people?
- Do I have difficulty hearing what is said unless I’m facing the speaker?
- Does it sound like other people are mumbling or slurring their words?
- Do I struggle to hear in crowded places like restaurants, malls, and meeting rooms?
- Do I have a tough time hearing women or children?
- Do I prefer the TV or radio volume louder than others?
- Do I experience ringing or buzzing in my ears?
If you answered yes to several of these questions, chances are you may suffer from hearing loss.