What You Need to Know About Hearing Loss

March 09, 2017

Hearing loss is a common occurrence as people get older. Clinical audiologist Dr. Kelly Grim discusses why, and provides information on how to best treat this condition.

Q: How common is hearing loss? A: Hearing loss is the third most prevalent chronic condition in adults, following hypertension and arthritis.  One in 3 people over the age of 60 has hearing loss. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently put out a report showing that many people are developing hearing loss earlier in their lives than we initially thought, most likely due to recreational noise exposure.

Q: What is the most common myth regarding hearing loss? A: The biggest myth associated with hearing loss is when people believe that their hearing is normal for their age when, in fact, there are no norms for hearing. Because hearing loss is such a gradual process and varies from person to person, depending on genetics and other medical factors, a degree of hearing loss is not associated with a specific age group. What this suggests is that everyone should get a baseline hearing test as early as possible, so any hearing loss over time can be detected and treated.

Q: What are some consequences of untreated hearing loss? A: Unfortunately, dementia and cognitive disorders are both consequences of untreated hearing loss. Recent studies indicate that those with untreated hearing loss experience 30-40% greater decline in cognitive abilities than those without hearing loss. Some medical conditions can show themselves as hearing loss, so a medical workup is very important to rule out potentially life threatening processes.

Q: What is the best treatment for hearing loss? A: At this time, hearing aids are the best form of treatment for hearing loss. Because the age of first time users is so much younger than in the past, the devices are smaller, easier to use and more cosmetically appealing than ever. There is also special technology that's integrated into the hearing aids that will help people who suffer from tinnitus, or ringing in the ears.

 To learn more about hearing loss and your treatment options, come to a FREE community education class on the topic featuring Dr. Grim and Dr. Mark Eisen in Farmington on March 15 at 5:30 PM. For more information or to register, click here.