What is hearing loss?
Hearing loss is a medical disorder that affects nearly 30 million
people in the United States. Impaired hearing may be caused by many
Older people are the
largest group affected by hearing loss. The contributors range from
excessive noise, drugs, toxins, and heredity.
In children, the most
common cause of hearing loss is otitis media, or ear infections.
Diseases and disorders
that contribute to hearing loss include tinnitis, presbycusis, and
Usher's syndrome, among others.
How is hearing loss treated?
In some patients, hearing loss can be surgically corrected. For
others, medical devices and rehabilitation therapies can often help reduce
To determine the exact cause of your
hearing loss, and how it can be managed, contact your physician for a
complete medical examination. If you suspect you have hearing loss, answer
these questions suggested by the National Institutes of Health:
- Do you have a problem hearing over the
- Do you have trouble following the
conversation when two or more people are talking at the same time?
- Do people complain that you turn the TV
volume up too high?
- Do you have to strain to understand
- Do you have trouble hearing in a noisy
- Do you find yourself asking people to
- Do many people you talk to seem to
mumble or not speak clearly?
- Do you misunderstand what others are
saying and respond inappropriately?
- Do you have trouble understanding the
speech of women and children?
- Do people get annoyed because you
misunderstand what they say?
If you answered yes to three or more of
these questions, you may want to see an otolaryngologist (an ear, nose,
and throat specialist), or an audiologist for a hearing evaluation.