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Posted on Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Truth About Hearing Loss

Man in profile contemplates the truth about hearing loss.

Hearing loss is now the third most common health problem in the United States, affecting nearly 30 million people, and yet many people don’t understand the basic truths about hearing loss--how to prevent damage to hearing, recognize hearing loss, or what mild, moderate, or severe hearing loss actually means.

Prevention

  • Avoid: listening to MP3 or other devices that use headphones for too long or at too high level. MP3 players can damage hearing, especially when used with earbuds, which increase decibel levels.
  • Monitor: there is no monitor on work equipment that says, “dangerous level of decibels”, and none on gym equipment, work tools, or lawnmowers, but all of these situations require protective hearing devices. Muffling the sound limits exposure and the damaging of the delicate hair cells within the inner ear.
  • Visit: make routine visits to your audiologists. Hearing is something that needs to be taken as seriously as eye care. Having your hearing checked regularly will keep you aware of your ears and any damage that needs to be addressed.
  • Increase: Antioxidants like B12, folic acid, Omega 3, and vitamin A are important because they help fight off damage free radicals can do to hearing. Antioxidants are found in high quantities in healthy leafy greens and other foods like lentils, dried beans, and bananas.
  • Symptoms of Hearing Loss

  • Repeating: Asking to have things repeated often can be a sign of hearing loss. Don’t dismiss the possibility, because you only ask for repetition during certain situations—on the cell phone, when speaking to a female, child, or in a crowded place. These all can be signs of hearing loss.
  • Volume: Does your spouse accuse you of not paying attention or of turning up the volume on the television too loud? Your spouse might think you are being rude, but in actuality these are signs of hearing loss.
  • Avoidance: Do you find yourself making excuses to avoid going to a public place? Does the idea of going out make you anxious? Often people don’t pursue these feelings, assuming they are emotional, but in fact they can be the first signs that you are uncomfortable communicating with others due to hearing loss. Hearing loss is more pronounced in social situations where there is an increase in background noise.
  • Degree of Hearing Loss

    The loudness of sounds is defined in terms of a scale of decibels dB. How well you hear is determined by the lowest to highest threshold of decibels that you can perceive at different frequencies (the number of waves a sound produces per second.)

    o Normal Hearing (-10 to +15 dB)
    o Mild Hearing Loss (16 to 40 dB)
    o Moderate Hearing Loss (41 to 55 dB)
    o Moderate-Severe Hearing Loss (56 to 70 dB)
    o Severe Hearing Loss (71 to 90 dB)
    o Profound Hearing Loss (91+ dB)

    Types of Hearing Loss

    Hearing loss is categorized according to the part of the ear it affects. There are three main types of hearing loss—sensorineural (inner ear damage), conductive (outer or middle ear damage), and mixed (a combination of inner, and outer or middle ear damage).

    If you think you might have any of these types of hearing loss or haven't been tested for hearing los in a while, see your hearing health professional. If you need help finding a hearing health provider click HERE to be connected with the largest network of trusted hearing health professionals in the nation!

    ©2011. American Hearing Aid Associates 225 Wilmington - West Chester Pike, Suite 300 Chadds Ford, PA 19317888.575.2511
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