The Impact of Hearing Loss And How Audiologists Can Help
Although aging is often a factor, hearing loss does not only affect the elderly. Hearing loss can greatly impact a person’s life and ability to interact with others. Hearing loss is often progressive. Minor hearing loss could lead to further problems if not identified early, especially hearing loss that is disease or injury related. Contacting an audiologist can help.
What is Hearing Loss?
Hearing loss is any issue where sound signals do not reach the brain properly. These issues can be due to problems with the ear, the brain, or the nerves connecting the two. At the first sign of hearing loss, individuals should speak to a hearing professional. By searching for an audiologist near me, individuals can find local professionals to help with the issue.
Sometimes, hearing loss is hard to notice. It may begin as a minor problem and develop into something much worse. Understanding the signs of hearing loss can help people identify when to see a doctor. These signs are often an indication of a problem and can include:
- Trouble understanding people on the telephone.
- Difficulties following conversations when multiple people are talking or there is background noise.
- Turning the television up so loud that others complain.
- Cannot understand children or those with higher-pitched voices.
- Other people seem to mumble when talking.
These and other signs could be an indication of hearing loss. If experiencing any or all of these issues, speak with an audiologist as soon as possible.
Impacts and Health Risks of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss can impact a person’s life in multiple ways. Not being able to understand someone clearly can impact a person’s ability to function at their place of work. It could leave them vulnerable to issues with coworkers and family members. It may even push a person to isolate themselves from others due to the difficulties or even embarrassment of not understanding when people talk.
As a person ages, the isolation can become worse and may even lead to depression. Some studies show that hearing loss is linked to walking problems and falls. There are even strong ties between hearing loss and dementia. There is a plethora of studies that show those with hearing loss are at a greater risk of dementia than those without the issue.
Causes of Hearing Loss
There are many causes of hearing loss. The most common cause is exposure to loud noises throughout one’s life. Loud music, loud work equipment, and even lawnmowers and snow blowers can be loud enough to damage the ear. Over time, this damage creates issues with hearing, especially as a person gets older. Ear protection is strongly recommended for anyone exposed to loud noises to prevent this damage.
Other causes of hearing loss can include injuries to the ear or brain. Damage to these areas can cause issues with collecting sound or processing the sound in the brain. Some illnesses and diseases can also cause hearing loss, such as ear infections and diabetes. Proper treatment and health care can restore hearing if caught early enough.
How an Audiologist Can Help
An audiologist is a hearing specialist. This doctor can identify hearing loss and its extent in patients. The audiologist may even be able to identify the cause of the hearing loss and refer the patient to the proper specialist for treatment of that issue to prevent further damage.
An audiologist can help find solutions for hearing loss in their patients, as well. There are a variety of hearing aids, implants, and other devices that may be able to restore a person’s ability to hear. Restoring hearing can reduce many complications associated with hearing loss.