Believe it or not, hearing loss can occur at any age, and it’s quite common in the US, so don’t be surprised if you or a loved one is starting to experience some of the signs listed farther down this page.

The WHO estimates that at least 2.5 billion people will have some level of hearing loss by 2050 and that about 700 million of those will have a disabling hearing loss — one in ten people!

It’s not something that’s going to go away.

Why Do People Allow Hearing Loss to Go Undiagnosed?

While there are a number of reasons so many people go undiagnosed, I think there are two main reasons:

  1. They don’t realize they are the ones with the issue – they usually accuse the speaker of mumbling rather than thinking it might be their hearing ability that’s causing the distorted sounds. Or at least, that’s the case for those with a mild to moderate hearing loss.
  1. They don’t want people to assume they are old because they have poor hearing, so they choose to avoid the perceived shame of it by not admitting it. But age is not the case at all! We have patients who are hard of hearing of every age — babies, teenagers, people in their twenties, you name it.

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Why Do So Many People Have an Untreated Hearing Loss, Even After They Are Diagnosed?

Sadly, untreated hearing loss is very common. Apple published the results of a hearing study last month carried out on participants who use both the iPhone and Apple Watch.

Ten percent of those participants had been diagnosed with a hearing loss by a professional, but only 25% of them actually got treated for it.

People assume the treatment for poor hearing is a hearing aid, and they hate the thought of wearing one, so they avoid it, but having hearing difficulties is like having less-than-perfect vision.

People of every age wear glasses, and we don’t look down on them and assume it’s because they are old.

Why can’t we accept that people of every age wear hearing aids too?

Why People Wait Seven Years on Average Before Addressing A Hearing Challenge?

A lot of the time, they don’t even realize they have a hearing challenge and think their family is starting to speak more quietly or less distinctly.

When they do begin to question their hearing ability, they don’t know what to do or how to address it, and they don’t want to be seen as old.

They also don’t know what the options are for improving their hearing. In their mind, they think hearing aids look like the much older ones from twenty or more years ago, but hearing aid technology has changed so much.

They’re thinking of what their grandparents had in the past – big, bulky devices with batteries that keep dying and producing static.

Even if they come around to the thought of wearing one of the newer hearing aids, they don’t see the cost as being worth it, even though it would improve every aspect of their lives – work, home, and social life.

What Are the Most Common Initial Signs of Hearing Loss?

What I’ve seen is people with a hearing loss:

  • Isolating themselves from conversations or groups
  • Misunderstanding words and not hearing certain letters in words clearly – sharp sounds are muffled
  • Appearing that they have a selective hearing loss – they can hear sometimes but not at other times
  • Feeling tired after social events
  • Asking people to speak louder or repeat what they’ve said
  • Moving closer to a person speaking when there is a lot of background noise
  • Needing the volume higher than everyone else in the room when watching TV

The signs mentioned above can suggest hearing loss. You might also notice:

  • They respond as if they don’t seem to understand what you’ve just said.
  • They don’t hear you from a distance.
  • They suffer from headaches or tinnitus.

What to Do If You Are Concerned About Hearing Loss?

The best thing someone can do if they’re concerned about their hearing is to visit an audiologist.

We’ll do a hearing assessment to gauge exactly how good their hearing is, find the cause, and suggest treatment options if needed.

There is no need for anyone to suffer anymore when there are so many great options available to help people enjoy their favorite TV shows and music and be able to fully participate in conversations with those they care about.

Why Should You Have Your Hearing Checked Annually?

Regular hearing assessments can make all the difference in lessening the damage of future hearing issues if they occur.

And if your hearing is great now, we can quickly know if anything occurs that we can set right by establishing a baseline of hearing ability early on.

Contact us to set up your hearing assessment appointment or to have any questions answered today.

Your hearing will be in good hands.

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Lori Losey Lovato MA, FAAA, Audiologist

Lori Losey Lovato MA, FAAA, Audiologist

Lori attended Washington State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in speech and hearing sciences and her master’s degree in audiology. She began practicing audiology in the Tri-Cities in 1993 and has worked with both adult and pediatric patients. She has spent her career focused on assisting those with hearing difficulties through the use of hearing aids, listening strategies, assistive devices, and counseling.