Hearing Loss Overview
Today in America, some 48 million people of all ages are living with some type of hearing loss. While as many as 20% of teenagers are estimated to have a measurable amount of loss from normal hearing, hearing loss is most prevalent amongst older people. Age-related hearing loss (presbycusis) affects about one-third of people aged 60-69, and about two-thirds of those who are older. Among centenarians, hearing loss occurs at a rate of nearly 100%, suggesting that we will all eventually have to deal with hearing loss if we live long enough.
Types of Hearing Loss
How Do I Know If I Have Hearing Loss?
The best way to identify hearing loss is by getting a regular hearing test. The Better Hearing Institute, a non-profit organization, recommends getting a hearing test once every decade until age 50, and once every three years after that. Those in higher-risk professions or with medical histories indicating a high risk should be tested even more frequently.
Outside of a hearing test, it is often the case that someone else brings our hearing loss to our attention. If someone in your life has expressed concern that you may have hearing loss, it is likely the case that you do. The best course of action is to schedule a hearing test and find out for certain whether you have hearing loss, what type you have, and how much.
Treating Hearing Loss
Yes and no. Researchers at the Stanford Initiative to Cure Hearing Loss (SICHL) have indicated that there is a genetic component to all types of hearing loss, suggesting that some people will simply suffer more hearing loss than others given the same set of circumstances. That said, some modifiable risk factors have been identified.