1. How common is hearing loss?

Approximately 17 percent, or 36 million, of American adults say that they have some degree of hearing loss. Roughly one-third of Americans 65-74 years of age and 47 percent of those 75 and older have hearing loss. But it is not uncommon for younger adults and children to have a hearing loss.

2. What impact can hearing loss have on an older person’s life?

People with a hearing loss can have trouble participating in everyday life. They may mistake words in a conversation, miss directions or warnings, not be able to hear their family members or spouse, or leave a ringing doorbell unanswered. When these symptoms are present, it is very common for the person to become depressed or withdraw from other to avoid feeling frustrated or embarrassed about not understanding what is being said.

3. Is hearing loss hereditary?

In some cases, hearing loss can be inherited. However, not all inherited forms of hearing loss take place at birth. The majority of hearing losses are not hereditary.

4. What role does noise play in hearing loss?

One of the most common causes of hearing loss is noise. Loud noise can permanently damage the inner ear. Loud noise also contributes to tinnitus, which is a ringing, roaring, hissing, or buzzing sound in the ears. A combination of tinnitus and hearing loss are very common in older adults.

5. Is it true that ear infections play a role in hearing loss?

Another cause of hearing loss is the ear infection otitis media. This can lead to long-term hearing loss if it is not treated or if a person gets them regularly.

6. How can I prevent infections that cause hearing loss?

Washing your hands frequently can help prevent upper respiratory infections, which can lead to an ear infection called otitis media. Asking your doctors about a yearly flu shot to help prevent flu-related ear infections is also another option.

If you still get an ear infection, see a doctor promptly before it becomes more serious.

7. What options do I have for treating a hearing loss?

The doctor can recommend strategies to help reduce the effects of a hearing loss. There are a number of treatments available, including hearing aids and other listening devices that can help you hear better.

8. Will wearing a hearing aid make me stand out?

It is true that compensating for a hearing loss by asking people to repeat themselves, inappropriately responding to people (or not responding at all), or even withdrawing from social situations is more obvious than wearing a hearing aid.

Nowadays, hearing aids are small, discreet and more stylish than ever before. Some are even invisible. Chances are that once you have a hearing aid, your quality of life will improve so much that cosmetics won’t be as much of an issue for you.

9. Will I be able to hear in noisy places?

While no hearing aid can filter out all background noise, our advanced hearing aids are designed to reduce some types of background noise so that you can enjoy conversations and improve communication in places like restaurants, business meetings and social gatherings.

10. How much do hearing aids cost?

The price of a hearing aid will vary depending on the specific model and features you need, and how effective it is in various noise environments. Whatever the final cost, most hearing professionals do offer financing plans. You should also check to see if you qualify for free hearing aids or discounted hearing aids from your employer, union, the Veterans Administration, insurance provider, HMO or local charity (such as Lions Club).

11. Are cheap hearing aids any good?

Inexpensive models are simply hearing amplifiers that will make everything louder (including all the ambient noises around you). They will not , for example, separate human voices from background noises, or hear directional sounds like today’s more sophisticated hearing aids are designed to do.