Hearing Loss Is Common

The older you become, the more likely you are to have hearing damage. A study done by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders reports that 1/5 of Americans over the age of 45 have some sort of hearing loss, while 1/3 suffer from hearing loss at ages 65 to 74. Above the age of 75, you have a 50% chance of having hearing loss.

Some types of hearing loss can be treated with medical treatment, while others are more permanent and can only be assisted with devices. The main causes of hearing loss found in adults include excessive exposure to loud noises and a neglect to minimize the volume. Aging also affects hearing loss, but that’s not in your control. The best thing you can do is wear earplugs when working around loud equipment (factory machinery, lawn mowers) or enjoying a show (rock concerts, fireworks). Neglecting to wear earplugs will result in permanent damage to the inner ear.

Some other types of hearing loss are caused by the buildup of fluid/earwax in the canals, which can be fixed. Audiologists can restore some hearing if this is your problem, but these issues aren’t as common as overexposure to loud noises.

Digital hearing aids:

Modern digital hearing aids transmit sounds to microchips, which intelligently amplify certain frequencies to appropriate volumes. Older hearing aids raised the sound of the entire environment, which increased the volume of background noise. Several modern hearing aids filter out wind, and some can sync up with Bluetooth technology.

Choosing a hearing aid:

Different hearing aids have differing levels of sophistication, and depending on where you get them, they could range anywhere from $1,000 to $6,000. Most private insurers don’t cover hearing aids, but take a look at your health plan to make sure.

Personal sound amplifiers (PSAPs):

PSAPs are essentially over-the-counter hearing aids that have fewer features and have less functionality than hearing aids. They are generally cheaper than hearing aids, but aren’t designed for people with hearing loss, just people who want to amplify certain sounds.

Choosing a PSAP:

There are numerous options, including behind-the-ear, over-the-ear, and in-ear which can cost anywhere from $25 - $500. Ask your audiologist which type might make sense for you, because certain ones increase the volume of certain sounds.

Source: Washington Post