The Epidemic of Untreated Adult Hearing Loss and the Benefits of Treatment

Over the past few decades, unprecedented medical advances have made it possible for human beings to live longer than ever before. The number of people over 65 years of age has grown from 12.9 % of the population in 2009 to a projected 19.3 % in 2030. Scientists predict that many babies born in the past several years will live to be over 100 years old. Additionally, better health care treatments mean that those who are already growing older have the chance to extend their lifespan. Living longer also means living more comfortably. This is thanks to newly developed solutions for many age-related problems like the effects of hearing loss.

The Possibility of Hearing Loss Increases with Age

As more people begin to live longer lives, the percentage of people experiencing hearing loss has also increased. It has turned into what is now considered a nationwide epidemic. 17% of the adult population experience the effects of hearing loss. This is according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. However, this number increases exponentially with age, as one-third of Americans between ages 65 and 74 and almost one-half of those over age 75 have hearing loss.

The Impact of Hearing Loss on Seniors

Unfortunately, hearing loss has many negative impacts on people who experience it, specifically because it limits their ability to live independent, self-sufficient lives. Hearing loss affects earning power, communication, and intimacy in relationships, emotional stability, social participation, and physical health. This is because people who lose their hearing (even if only partially) are less self-confident. Thus, they tend to make up for this by lashing out and harming their relationships with others. Furthermore, reduced ability to communicate harms working relationships, making it difficult to earn as much as before.

Other Effects of Hearing Loss

Hearing loss leads to many detrimental psychological effects including anger and frustration, depression, paranoia, anxiety, and social phobias. If these factors are already present in a person before hearing loss begins, they may be intensified once his or her hearing becomes worse. Moreover, others may begin to discriminate against a person losing his or her hearing – whether intentionally or unintentionally. All of these factors impact a person’s quality of life.  They also lead to other consequences as well as general mood and happiness.

Getting Checked and Finding Solutions

One of the factors that contribute to increased hearing loss is the reluctance to get checked. Many people are in denial about the problem that they are developing. As a result, they don’t want to have their fears confirmed. This only makes the problem worse, as the hearing loss intensifies over time if it is not treated. Even if people are willing to come to terms with their hearing loss, the cost of traditional prescription hearing aids is often prohibitive. As a result, many people fail to seek treatment or a solution. However, the benefits of treatment are enormous.

Traditional Prescription Hearing Aids

There are ways to find out exactly what the issue is and how to halt the effects of hearing loss. You can also receive the help you need to achieve a higher quality of life despite losing some of your hearing. The doctors who examine your hearing and evaluate the level of hearing loss you are experiencing can prescribe a hearing aid. This is a device that inputs sound processes it and transfers it through your ear so you can hear once again – despite damage to your inner ear. Since traditional prescription hearing aids are programmed and custom-fitted, they can be somewhat expensive, and often end up costing thousands of dollars. This may be worth it regarding an improvement in your quality of life, however, it is a decision that you will have to talk over with a medical professional.

Advantages of an OTC Hearing Aid

If the cost of a traditional prescription hearing aid is prohibitive, and you are able to do without one, an over the counter hearing aid may be what you need instead. Much like traditional hearing aids, an OTC hearing aid uses digital circuitry and electrical signals to transfer sound to your brain and allow you to hear, but they mostly work by amplifying sounds to a comfortable volume. From meetings to personal conversations, it can boost a person’s ability to hear basic sounds.

Finding a hearing aid that works for you is possible even if you are on a budget, as the average OTC hearing aid costs only 10 percent of what you could pay for a traditional prescription hearing aid, hovering between $250 and $600 depending on what type of model you get. However, determining whether an over the counter hearing aid is enough, and which one is right for you, is something that a doctor can help you with. This is one reason coming in to see a specialist is so important, even though an OTC hearing aid does not require a prescription.

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