Silent Ailment

Hearing Loss

When a person has problems seeing or walking it is obvious and most people make allowances for the person who has such disabilities. When a person is hearing impaired it is less obvious. Often the person with a hearing deficit seems to not be paying attention or to be ignoring the conversation.

Prevalence

Hearing loss is common for people over the age of sixty-four (64) and often progresses for a decade or more. In America, it affects more than 48 million people and is more common than either diabetes or cancer.

Causes

Hearing loss can be acute from head trauma and illnesses such as infection. More likely, however, the cause is exposure to prolonged loud noises, an illness such as diabetes, heart disease or high blood pressure. Genetics can play a factor and some medications can contribute to hearing loss. 

Treatment 

Treatment may include surgery, medication or cochlear implants (for younger patients) but is more likely to require hearing aids. Hearing aids come in various styles and the cost may range from around two to seven thousand dollars. This is a good reason to shop around and do serious research before investing in aids. It also helps to have realistic expectations for hearing aids. They amplify sounds. They do not restore normal hearing. Hearing aids take time and patience to learn how best to use them.

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It also helps if family and friends understand that they can assist the hearing impaired by 1. Getting their attention prior to speaking, 2. Making sure they are positioned so that their lips can be seen and 3. Speaking clearly, but not shouting. Most people with hearing loss are particularly impaired when there is more than one person speaking at once. 

Decibels

Sounds and therefore hearing are measured in decibels. A hearing loss of thirty decibels or more is considered significant. The sounds in our environment can be measured in decibels. 

You can measure decibels easily by using a smartphone app. Restaurants are notoriously noisy and knowing the decibel level can be helpful in choosing which to patronize. I use VenueDB on my iPhone, but there are several for both Android and IOS phones. https://www.healthyhearing.com/report/47805-The-best-phone-apps-to-measure-noise-levels I recently measured one of my favorite restaurants at eighty-two (82) decibels. That can be appreciated by knowing that a lawn mower registers around 90. 

NOTE: some information contained herein obtained from WebMD. 

“Sometimes we should express our gratitude for the small and simple things like the scent of the rain, the taste of your favorite food or the sound of a loved one’s voice.” Joseph B. Wirthlin

 

Photo & graphic by Pixabay

5 Comments

  1. Oh, do I know!

    Part of the problem with hearing loss, is that as the sounds coming in diminish, you hear more of the “electronic buzzing” of your own neurons — or whatever it is that makes that high pitched squealing. I hear it non-stop, but especially when everything else is quiet. I can lie in bed at night and listen to the screaming in my ears. Without the help of hearing aids, that sound masks other high-pitched electronics like an alarm or phone beep.

    Part of the problem with hearing aids is that they are programmed to filter out the lower humming noises of machinery — and usually don’t transmit men’s deeper voices very well. But children’s squeals. Sitting in a crowd I may have trouble hearing a speaker or a soft-voiced question in the group, but I’ll get every squeak from the children fussing at the back of the room.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you, Sue. You have addresses an issue that affects many. I have been greatly concerned about friends and family who I believe have significant hearing loss. This information may help me broach the subject on Thanksgiving.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Good information. I worked with hearing impaired students and have had hearing aids myself for 10 years. My best advice to give someone using hearing aids for the first time is to keep them on all day (even if you live alone) even though the sound is different. Let your technician change the program if you are having problems with noise. This is the best way to adjust to the difference in Sound.

    Liked by 1 person

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