Start Your New Year with Better Hearing!

Start Your New Year with Better Hearing!

The New Year is a great time to commit to your hearing health. If you’ve been putting off making appointments and addressing any health concerns; the beginning of a new year can mark a fresh start of prioritizing your health. This is especially important because hearing loss is the third most common chronic medical condition people experience today. Though it is a pervasive health concern, it is often undertreated. Getting a hearing test is an effective way to assess your hearing and establish your hearing needs. Early intervention can transform your overall health and quality of life. 

What Causes Hearing Loss?

An estimated 48 million people in the U.S. have hearing loss. This number is expected to rapidly grow as more people experience an increased risk of impaired hearing. Several factors can cause hearing loss, a few of the most common causes include the following: 

  • Age. Age-related hearing loss, also known as presbycusis, is common among older adults. According to the National Institutes of Health
  • 1 in 3 adults, ages 65-74 have hearing loss 
  • 1 in 2 adults, ages 75 and older have hearing loss 

Age is the greatest indicator of hearing loss. A few factors that contribute to this include the existing medical conditions that also disproportionately impact older adults  (and increase the risk of developing hearing loss). Additionally, the cumulative toll of loud noise exposure or structural changes to the ear over time also increases the risk of hearing loss. 

  • Loud noise. Exposure to loud noise, one time or consistently, can damage the hair cells in the inner ear. These sensory cells are responsible for converting incoming soundwaves into electrical signals that then get sent to the brain. The brain is then able to further process and analyze the sound which allows us to understand what we hear. Loud noise can cause these hair cells to lose sensitivity (or die), reducing their capacity to function. This makes it more difficult for the brain to receive and process sound information, producing hearing loss symptoms. Because hair cells in the inner ear do not regenerate, this damage is permanent resulting in hearing loss. 
  • Medical conditions. Several medical conditions can increase the risk of developing hearing loss. This includes heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, hypertension. These conditions impact blood flow, bone health, oxygen, etc. which impacts the auditory system. 
  • Other. Additional factors that can contribute to hearing loss include head/neck injuries, chronic ear infections, autoimmune conditions, etc. 

Common Hearing Loss Symptoms

Hearing loss typically happens gradually so it can remain unnoticed for quite some time. Recognizing the signs is a useful way to identify impairment and intervene early. Common hearing loss symptoms include: 

  • Tinnitus: a buzzing or ringing noise that is heard in one or both ears when no external sound is present. 
  • Sounds are distorted (muffled, slurred)
  • Turning up the volume on the television and/or other electronic devices like your phone. 
  • Asking others to repeat themselves or speak louder. 
  • Frequently missing words or part of a conversation. 
  • Difficulty hearing in settings with background noise, during conversations with multiple people.
  • Lip reading to help distinguish individual words. 

These symptoms can be experienced mildly to profoundly depending on the degree of hearing loss present. This significantly impacts communication by making it challenging to smoothly engage in conversations. Strained communication has multifaceted effects including social withdrawal, tension in relationships, challenges in the workplace, etc. Addressing hearing loss can alleviate symptoms and the impact impaired hearing has on daily life. 

Prioritize Your Hearing Health Today

Fortunately, seeking treatment for hearing loss involves a noninvasive and straightforward process. The first step is simple: call a hearing healthcare specialist to schedule an appointment for a hearing test. A hearing test measures hearing capacity in both ears and identifies any hearing impairment. Your hearing healthcare provider is then able to recommend effective treatment options that will support your hearing needs. Treating hearing loss not only strengthens hearing but also improves relationships, social engagement, and overall health and wellness. 

Call the Hearing Health Center of Houston to learn more and schedule an appointment for a hearing consultation. Our practice is committed to providing individualized care that transforms your health. Kick-off the New Year by calling us today!