Hearing Loss Facts

Hearing loss is prevalent in our society. It is the most common handicap, and the third most common physical condition after arthritis and heart disease. Hearing loss can affect people of all ages. Loss ranges in severity from mild; which will only slightly impair ones ability to communicate, To profound; with severe social and psychological consequences.

Hearing loss can be conductive; which means there is impedance of acoustic energy to the inner ear. It can be sensorineural; that is to say that the cochlea or 'inner ear’ is not functioning properly. An example of conductive loss would be wax in the ear canal. An example of sensorineural loss would be  presbycusis or ‘age related’ loss.

The affects of hearing loss range from having to have to ask people to repeat themselves frequently, to social isolation, and even increased chance of cognitive deficits, including alzheimer disease and dementia.  The most common cause of permanent hearing is sensorineural, and the most common causes of this type of loss are the aging process, and exposure to loud noise.  Interestingly, hearing loss is much less prevalent in less industrialized societies, indicating that what we call presbycusis  may be in some way related to our noisy modern world.

Solutions for treating hearing loss range from over the counter PSAP’s (personal sound amplifying products) intended for occasional use in difficult situations, to hearing aids which give continual relief in mild to severe hearing loss, and even surgical procedures, like cochlear implants, which are used mostly in severe to profound cases.

Hearing loss can be a symptom of serious disease such as: Meniere Disease, acoustic neuroma, hypertension, and diabetes. If you suspect you have hearing loss, seek medical advice.

• According to the NIH-one in eight people in the United States (13 percent, or 30 million) aged 12 years or older has hearing loss in both ears, based on standard hearing examinations.

• The NIDCD estimates that approximately 15 percent of Americans (26 million people) between the ages of 20 and 69 have high frequency hearing loss due to exposure to noise at work or during leisure activities.

List of External Links

     •  Jons Hopkins on Dementia

     •  Jons Hopkins on Tissue Loss

     •  NIH on Noise Loss

     •  NIH on Age Loss

     •  Intitute of Medicine Workshop

     •  Hearing Loss Costs Far More Than Ability to Hear - The New York Times