If you or a loved one recently has been having trouble communicating it could mean that hearing loss is a factor. This is not hard to believe when you realize that approximately 48million people in the U.S. alone struggle with hearing loss. In fact, hearing loss is one of the most chronic health concerns in this country along with diabetes and cancer. An ailment that has traditionally affected older demographics is now starting to affect younger generations as well due to the growing amount of noise pollution and more exposure to noise than ever before.
What are some of the symptoms of hearing loss?
It is important to know the symptoms of hearing loss so that it is not mistaken or excused as something else. If you have noticed that you or a loved one has been turning up the television louder than before this is not a coincidence but one of the leading symptoms of hearing loss. Other symptoms include having to ask people to repeat themselves often, hearing speech that sounds distorted or trouble hearing conversation in crowded or noisy environments.
Hearing loss should not be ignored
Your hearing is just too important to live without dealing with a potential hearing loss. We rely on our hearing everyday, everywhere we go to keep us alert to the world around us. If you enjoy driving or walking in public then it is so important to be able to hear the sounds of traffic and other people. With more traffic, more construction and more access to electronic media than ever before our hearing is constantly being put to the test. There are so many dangers out there to your ears at work, for recreation and at home. Make sure to limit your exposure to any sound and wear hearing protection when ever in a noisy environment. With all this danger to our ears it is important to be aware of our hearing health and make sure to schedule annual appointments with an audiologist to make sure our hearing health is optimum. Even a slight hearing loss can start to cause big problems for individuals, including depression, social isolation and anxiety.
Studies on Hidden Hearing Loss
A hidden hearing loss is a type of hearing loss that cannot be measured by the most common hearing test. When one suspects they may have a hearing loss, a hidden hearing loss may not show up on an audiogram. This can be misleading as a hidden hearing loss often has the same dangerous side effects of most hearing loss. A hidden hearing loss can manifest itself in our inability to recognize normal speech. Often certain frequencies or sounds are the first to go. When these sounds drop out of our perception in normal conversation our brains have to struggle to fill in the gaps. This can lead to extreme exhaustion and fatigue.
Researchers at the University of Michigan, led by Dr. Gabriel Corfas, director of the Kresge Hearing Research Institute at Michigan Medicine’s department of otolaryngology, searched for some of the causes of hidden hearing loss. Corfas published these findings in the Nature Communications journal. The study found that
“Longtime exposure to high decibel sound destroys the synapses within the inner ear. These synapses are what connect the cilia or minute hair cells that move along sound waves in the inner ear. When synapses are lost, neurons can no longer transmit impulses to our brain for translation and acquisition of sound. The loss of these synapses results in our difficulty in deciphering speech and can be hard to detect.’
One of the greatest threats to developing hidden hearing loss is exposure to loud noise. “It’s clear that being exposed to high levels of sound might contribute to increases in hidden hearing loss,” says Corfas and this noise induced hearing loss can develop into a full-blown case of hearing loss quickly.
Seek Treatment Now
Don’t let hidden hearing loss get the better of you. Make sure you have your hearing tested annually no matter what your age. You are never too young to make sure you are taking care of your ears. If you have even a suspicion that you are living with hearing loss it is better to be safe and find out, rather than letting hearing loss get the better of you.