Q&A About Hearing Loss

Q&A About Hearing Loss

The stigma of hearing loss discourages some people from asking questions about their condition. Another barrier to educating oneself about hearing impairment is the worry about asking a “silly” question.

Let’s go beyond that and dispel some common myths about hearing loss. Hearing loss is a rapidly growing health concern, and being well-informed by asking questions that address your fears and anxieties is the best way to deal with it.

Why is it important to treat hearing loss?

Nearly 1 in 10 Americans know that their hearing is not as good as it used to be, but for more than half, their hearing has never been checked.

When left untreated, hearing loss can lead to a variety of social, emotional, and mental consequences. When individuals choose not to treat their hearing loss, they risk their relationships, careers, and health.

Untreated hearing loss can lead to cognitive dysfunction when some parts of the brain deteriorate without aural stimulus. The brain also overcompensates for hearing loss, leading to attention difficulties and exhaustion, and there is a growing body of research that suggests that untreated hearing loss will speed up dementia.

To avoid these consequences, it is essential to get a professional diagnosis and treatment plan. For most cases of hearing loss, hearing aids are likely the best option. In recent years, hearing aid technology has come a long way. Wearing them can even benefit people with mild hearing problems.

Can I treat my hearing loss naturally?

While there are no “natural” treatments for hearing loss, there is exciting hearing technology that continues to grow more sophisticated! Once the damage is done to the cilia (the tiny hair cells in your inner ear), the hearing loss is permanent. The cilia are responsible for carrying the sound frequencies to the brain for processing and are unable to be regenerated once damaged. Hearing aids are the most common treatment option for hearing loss.

Do I need two hearing aids?

The short answer in most cases is yes. While there are cases of single-sided hearing loss, bilateral hearing loss is much more common — 90 percent of those with hearing loss experience it in both ears. When there is hearing loss in both ears, using two hearing aids provides your brain with the full information that it needs in order to hear well in a variety of environments. 

Will I be able to hear with hearing aids immediately?

You may immediately notice that sounds are more clear and crisp, but the full benefits of hearing aids are experienced after a short adjustment period. Living with untreated hearing loss “rewires” the way your brain processes sound, so it takes time to adjust to hearing amplified sounds with hearing aids. Most people adjust to hearing with a new pair of hearing aids within a few days to a few weeks and are extremely happy with their devices.

How can I prevent hearing loss?

The good news is that if we are careful, we can take preventive measures for the duration of our lives to ensure healthy hearing. Here are some steps we can take to keep our ears healthy and happy:

  • Avoid loud places. Building sites, public events, music concerts, and even the constant traffic blare of horns can cause long-term damage.
  • Use earplugs. These are convenient and inexpensive. They can be used when you are in a situation where the immediate environment contains loud noise for a short time or moderate noise for an extended period. 
  • Practice the safe use of earbuds. Keep the volume at 60 percent for 60 minutes if you need to use earbuds. Even more effective would be to use noise-canceling headphones, as these make you less likely to crank up the volume to drown out external noises. 
  • Get your hearing tested regularly. Get a test from a hearing health provider and find one with whom you can establish a continuing relationship. As an adult, it is recommended to have a check-up every five years, and every three years after age 50.

UpState Hearing Instruments

If you have questions about hearing loss, we’ve got answers! At UpState Hearing Instruments, we offer comprehensive hearing health services to ensure that you hear at your best. Contact us today for a consultation. 

Kenneth H. Wood, BC-HIS
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