“I can’t hear you.”
“Can you speak up?”
If any of these phrases exit your lips regularly, you might have a hearing problem.
According to the Mayo Clinic, about 25 percent of people in the US between the ages of 55 and 64 experience some degree of hearing loss. For those older than 65, that number increases to 50 percent.
Hearing loss doesn’t happen overnight. Often, it comes on gradually, and can have multiple causes. Age-related hearing loss is the most common type, with causes ranging from changes in the structures of the inner ear, changes in the way the brain processes speech and sound, and damage to the tiny hairs in the ear that are responsible for transmitting sound to the brain.
Untreated hearing loss can affect not only the person experiencing it, but also those close to them. Some studies have stated that untreated hearing loss has been linked to irritability, negative behavior, fatigue, social withdrawal, impaired memory, the inability to learn new tasks, and reduced job performance.
Research from Johns Hopkins revealed that hearing loss or impairment can cause problems with walking and can potentially lead to falling. It can also create social isolation – due to struggling to hear conversations.
So what could you do if you think you have a hearing problem? Hearing aids are always a helpful solution, and today’s hearing aids are small enough that they are almost undetectable. But before you go that route, it could be beneficial to talk to your family and friends about what you’re experiencing. Be honest about any challenges you are having with your hearing, so your friends and family can offer support.
If you are certain you’re losing your hearing, make an appointment with your doctor. He or she will be able to determine if you need tests to check your hearing.
It is never too late to try to prevent, or at least deter, hearing loss. A common preventative measure is to avoid or limit your exposure to loud noises, and use ear plugs if you must be in a loud environment.
Be sure to get routine hearing tests to obtain a baseline of your hearing levels. This way, your doctor can monitor your hearing levels and catch any changes in your hearing before the effects get too intense.
Some research has stated that a poor diet could affect hearing, revealing a link between high blood cholesterol and hearing loss. Avoid cold and raw foods, such as icy beverages, because the coldness could constrict the Eustachian tubes, which can cause poor drainage.
Not to worry though – there are many people out there who have hearing loss and have accomplished high levels of success, with the help of hearing aids or other remedies. Bill Clinton, Whoopi Goldberg, Robert Redford, Lou Ferrigno, and Pete Townsend have all suffered from hearing loss and have gone on to become successful in their fields!