About Hearing Loss

About Hearing Loss

Knowing the status of your hearing health is just plain smart. Even if you don’t think you have a hearing loss, you might. In fact, it can take years to recognize hearing loss. After all, for so many, it comes on gradually.

Even mild untreated hearing loss can be disabling by limiting meaningful communication and social connectivity. These effects can lead to fatigue, tension, stress, as well as impair memory and the ability to learn new tasks, and even reduce job performance and earning power.

Many people don’t realize how easy it is to get a hearing test by a qualified hearing care provider and how straightforward the test itself is. Take the online hearing screening test or call HearUSA to schedule an appointment with a provider near you. People with hearing loss are often embarrassed because they think that they are different or that they have a rare condition, but statistics showing hearing loss prevalence truly negates the idea that hearing loss is uncommon.

Did you know:

  • 3 in 10 people over age 60 have hearing loss
  • 1 in 6 baby boomers (ages 41-59), or 14.6%, have a hearing problem.
  • 1 in 14 Generation Xers (ages 29-40), or 7.4%, already have hearing loss.
  • At least 1.4 million children (18 or younger) have hearing problems.
  • It is estimated that 3 in 1,000 infants are born with serious to profound hearing loss.

There are three types of hearing loss:

Sensorineural hearing loss occurs in the inner ear and is the most common type of hearing loss. This type of hearing loss is caused by damage to the inner ear and/ or auditory nerve due to one episode or more of prolonged exposure to loud noise, certain medications, or simply the process of aging. Once damaged, the inner ear cannot be repaired. Sensorineural hearing decreases the ability to differentiate consonant sounds (and thus the fine distinctions in words such as hat versus cat). Most sensorineural hearing losses can be treated effectively with hearing aids.

Conductive hearing loss occurs in the outer and middle ear. The most common causes are wax buildup in the ear canal, middle ear infection, a hole in the tympanic membrane or damaged ossicles.

In most cases, conductive hearing loss affects the lower frequencies or pitches and makes it difficult to hear vowel sounds. Since vowels contain the “power of speech,” the individual with conductive hearing loss perceives speech and other sounds as being much “quieter” than normal. The condition can often be medically treated.