(8/9/08)- A recent study of hearing loss concluded that it is more widespread than previously believed. The results of the study were published in a recent edition of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

According to the estimate contained in our item dated 10/7/06 below, there are 31.5 million Americans suffering from some form or hearing loss. Dr. Yuri Agrawal of Johns Hopkins was the lead author of the study, which looked at data from more than 5,700 people ages 20 to 69. This study estimated that about 29 million Americans suffered from some form of hearing loss.

The study found that men were more than five times as likely as women to have hearing loss and whites more than blacks. The risk was also higher for people who smoked, were exposed to noise or had cardiovascular risks. Participants in the study who were given hearing examinations were found to have more hearing problems than were those who were merely asked about their hearing problems.

Among people in the 20 to 29 year age group, about 8.5% showed some hearing loss

(10/7/06)- It is estimated that there are 31.5 million Americans who are suffering from some form or other of hearing loss. Most of those with hearing loss are age related (presbycusis). Hearing loss is the third most common chronic condition among older Americans, after hypertension and arthritis.

Sadly enough, surveys have determined that only one person in five with hearing loss wears a hearing aid. Medicare does not cover the cost of a hearing aid. Of those people who do have hearing aids, about 30% do not wear them, for one reason or another, on a daily basis, even though the device should be worn daily.

Some antibiotics and anticancer medications can cause hearing loss. Hearing loss associated with the aging most often results from cumulative damage to the hair cells in the cochlea, which suffer from wear and tear during the aging process.

There are 4 basics styles of hearing aids, and they range in pricing from $400 to $3,000. Modern technology now can help a hearing aid user in a noisy environment to adjust the sound heard to the surrounding environment. The newer hearing aids are designed to suppress the high-pitched whistle that can be produced when the older models are turned to high volume amplification.

(8/2001)- Loss of hearing is a very common problem associated with aging. About one-third of Americans between the age of 65 and 74 and one-half of those age 85 and older have hearing problems. If ignored or untreated this problem can only worsen. Special training, hearing aids, certain medicines and surgery are some of the choices available to people with hearing problems.

Hearing loss can be caused by exposure to loud noises over a long period of time, infections, heart conditions or stroke, head injuries, tumors, heredity, or changes in the ear that are related to aging. If you have a hearing problem, see if your family physician can help you. Your doctor may in turn refer you to an otolaryngologist. This is a doctor with special training in the ear, nose, and throat and other areas related to the head and neck. An audiologist is used to identify and measure hearing loss. Please note that the loss of hearing ability occurs naturally as we age.

Now lets look at the different types of hearing loss.

Presbycusis is the most common hearing problem in people as they age. It involves the ongoing loss of hearing due to changes in the inner ear. The decline takes place slowly over a number of years.

Tinnitus occurs when the person has a ringing or other sound inside the ear. It may be caused by ear wax, an ear infection, overuse of aspirin or antibiotic, or a nerve disorder. It sometimes comes and goes and reappears once again.

Conductive hearing loss occurs when the sounds that are carried from the eardrums to the inner ear are blocked. Ear wax in the ear canal, fluid in the middle ear, or a middle ear infection can cause his loss.

Sensorineural hearing loss happens when there is damage to parts of the inner ear or auditory nerve. Birth defects, head injury, tumors, poor blood circulation, high blood pressure, or stroke may cause it.

The problems associated with the elderly are so widespread that any good nursing home will have either their own staff or hired outside consultants to deal with this problem for its residents. You should always check with a nursing home about its hearing department. Ask how frequently a home administers hearing tests for its residents.


By Allan Rubin
updated August 9, 2008

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