Hearing loss is a problem for many Americans. In fact, recent statistics from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) show that 15 percent of adults over the age of 18 are afflicted with some level of hearing loss, with the risk being most elevated for those who are between the ages of 60 and 69. Males are also known to have twice the risk of developing hearing loss as adult females.
Those who feel they may be experiencing hearing loss can use this information about symptoms and diagnosis to help them determine how to proceed.
Hearing loss symptoms
While some types of hearing loss can occur quickly, such as those that result from an injury or illness, most of those who develop hearing loss find the impact to be much more subtle. In adults, some of the most common early symptoms include:
- Increasing difficulty in following conversations on the phone or in-person
- Feeling the need to set volume controls higher over time
- Failing to hear common sounds, such as automobile turn indicators, timers, or audible alerts on phones and devices
- Difficulty in hearing in situations where background noise is a factor
Some of those who develop signs of early hearing loss may also find themselves avoiding social situations where they have difficulty hearing or experiencing increasing periods of tinnitus.
Hearing loss testing
Those who find they have one or more symptoms of hearing loss should know that seeking testing, diagnosis, and treatment as early as possible can help them prevent further losses. Unlike some other forms of testing, a hearing loss exam is a non-invasive, comfortable process.
In most hearing tests, earplugs or headphones are used to connect the test subject to an audiometer to determine the level and type of hearing loss. The audiometer creates a variety of tones and delivers them at precise volumes and pitches.
The test subject receives specific instructions to help them focus and respond to the sounds they hear in a way that helps the tester gather important information about their level of hearing loss. In addition to tones and pitches, hearing loss examinations can also include the use of pressure testing to assess eardrum function.
If you or a loved one is experiencing signs that you feel may indicate hearing loss, undergoing a hearing loss examination or hearing test should be considered. To learn more about hearing loss, contact a reputable hearing loss diagnostic center in your area.