Hearing Loss

Certain factors make people more prone to hearing loss, including:
  • Aging
  • Exposure to loud occupational or recreational noises
  • Family history of hearing loss
Aging and noise exposure can cause wear and tear on the hair or nerve cells that send sound signals to the brain. When those are damaged or missing, signals aren’t transmitted as efficiently and hearing loss occurs. This type of hearing loss is permanent. About 25 percent of people in the United States between ages 55 and 64 have some degree of hearing loss, and for those older than 65, almost 1 in 2 people have some hearing loss.

Factors that can cause temporary hearing loss include earwax buildup, ear infections or a ruptured eardrum. Your doctor can recommend a course of action for these concerns.

Symptoms of hearing loss include muffling of speech and other sounds, difficulty understanding words especially in background noise or crowds, asking others to speak more slowly or clearly, needing to turn up the volume on the television or radio and withdrawal from conversations.

See your doctor right away if you notice a reduction in your hearing, especially if it’s just in one ear. Also see your doctor if hearing difficulty interferes with your daily life.
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