Hearing loss happens for different reasons. Many people lose their hearing slowly as they age. Another reason for hearing loss may be years of exposure to loud noise. It might be tempting to ignore hearing loss because it often happens gradually, but seeking help sooner rather than later can help improve communication and quality of life, regardless of age.

Audiologist reviewing hearing test with patientHearing Loss in Older Adults

According to the National Institute on Aging, approximately one in three people between the ages of 65 and 74 have hearing loss, and nearly half of those older than 75 have difficulty hearing. Hearing loss is the third most common physical condition after arthritis and heart disease.

Studies have shown cognitive abilities, including memory and concentration, decline faster in older adults with hearing loss than in older adults with normal hearing. Recent research suggests older adults with hearing loss have a greater risk of developing dementia than older adults with normal hearing.

Noise Induced Hearing Loss

According to a 2018 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study, an estimated 12.5% of children and adolescents aged six to 19 years of age (approximately 5.2 million) and 17% of adults aged 20 to 69 years old (approximately 26 million) have suffered permanent damage to their hearing from excessive exposure to noise.

man with headphonesThere are many ways we can protect our ears and hearing from loud noise:
  • Turn the volume down on personal listening devices such as headphones and earbuds.
  • Avoid loud noise whenever possible.
  • Give your ears a rest and take periodic breaks from noise.
  • Use hearing protection such as earplugs or noise-canceling earmuffs.

Tinnitus (Ringing in the Ears)

The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) estimates that approximately 10 percent of the country's adult population, over 25 million Americans, experience some form of tinnitus. It is especially common in people over the age of 55 and strongly associated with hearing loss.

Although there’s no proven cure for tinnitus, there are many different treatments that help make it easier to ignore. Because tinnitus is so common among people with hearing loss, properly fitted hearing aids can be very helpful. Modern hearing aids not only come with tinnitus masking features, they also help retrain the brain to focus on desired sounds, known as sound therapy.

Hearing Aids

audiologist showing patient a hearing aidAccording to the Hearing Loss Association of America, only one in five people who would benefit from a hearing aid actually uses one. People with hearing loss wait an average of seven years before seeking help.

For the millions of Americans who have hearing loss, hearing aids are usually the best option to help correct untreated hearing loss and resume a high quality of life. While it can be hard to accept you need hearing aids, going without them increases your risk for social and medical problems. Many types and styles are available to suit every preference and lifestyle.

If you suspect some degree of hearing loss, contact the Pennsylvania Ear Institute (PEI). Our expert audiologists will assess your hearing and make recommendations on how to address your hearing needs.

For more information on PEI’s services or to make an appointment, call 215.780.3180.