To Hear or Not to Hear – Part 1
We recently explored the complicated world of hearing aids. My husband is one of 48 million of that suffer from some form of hearing loss. Older adults are the majority of those with some hearing loss. One third of people between ages 64 to 74 report some loss. That number grows to 50% for the population over 75.
Signs of Hearing Loss
One of the first signs of hearing loss is turning up the volume of the TV or radio. You may have difficulty hearing people- especially if they are behind you. You hear men’s voices easier that women’s; women’s voices are in the higher range of tones which are lost first. You may find yourself cupping your hand behind your ear (This behavior I observed in my dad – often in noisy environments).
What do you do if a friend or family member needs to deal with their hearing loss? Hearing loss can be a sensitive topic to address like weight loss. Keep in mind that hearing loss impacts the quality of life. It makes social interaction difficult and socializing is important for overall health. Hearing well may impact how well you can perform your job. Approaching your family or friend is in their best interest.
There are websites and phone apps that have sample hearing tests. Try these out and see how you score. Avoid the ‘tell mode’ lead with questions. Click here for online hearing test -> Hearing Test
In our home, my husband was having trouble hearing the TV at lower volumes. He was also dealing with tinnitus which is a constant ringing or buzzing in your ear. He initiated the testing process. However, with my dad, he resisted the thought of hearing aids. Until it impacted his job. His employer told him he needed to address the issue.
Causes of Hearing Loss
- Medications like some antibiotics or too large of doses of Aspirin.
- Loud noise
- Continued exposures to a noisy environment.
- Smokers are more likely to experience hearing loss.
- Mineres can lead to hearing loss.
In my husband’s situation, his military service on a missile site exposed him to high power radar.
Causes of Tinnitus
- Tinnitus is ringing or buzzing in the ear.
- This also can be caused by exposure to loud noises. It can also be the result of middle ear infections, head trauma, and aging.
- The ringing may be reduced by diet and managing stress.
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