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There are a lot of stigmas about hearing loss. People fear that admitting they have a hearing loss will make them appear old to peers, co-workers and family. However when people address their hearing loss the opposite often occurs. People who accept that they have hearing loss and seek treatment can communicate with the people in their life more clearly, reinforcing bonds with loved ones and staying sharp and current at work. Using hearing aids has been proven over and over to help with the negative side effects of hearing loss, however among adults aged 70 and older with hearing loss who could benefit from hearing aids, less than 30 percent have ever used them.
If you suspect that you have a hearing loss you may have a lot of questions that can make it easier for you to understand how treating your hearing can improve so many aspects of your life. Lets go over a few frequently asked questions you may want to know about hearing loss. Perhaps these answers will be exactly what you needed to hear to inspire you to finally take the leap and deal with your hearing loss
As my hearing loss continues to get worse will I eventually go deaf?
In most cases you will probably not go completely deaf. The most common cause of hearing loss is sensorineural, which is caused as the nerves of the inner ear become permanently damaged or destroyed. While sensorineural hearing loss is a progressive disease, meaning that it does slowly become worse in most instances there is a point where degeneration plateaus and hearing ability will stay steady. Even so, the more you can hear the more stimulation your brain receives. Your brain is like a muscle and becomes stronger the more it is stimulated. As hearing loss continues to decline your brain can actually shrink, opening the potential for memory loss and a greater risk of dementia. This is one reason why the sooner you treat your hearing loss the better. A hearing exam can help diagnose your particular type of hearing loss and find the best treatment for you.
Are two hearing aids better than one?
Generally it is common practice to use two hearing aids. Even if one ear seems to hear better than the other, it is rare that hearing loss is not present in both ears; just to different degrees. Your brain relies on healthy and equal hearing in both ears in order to help you locate sound. This is called binaural hearing and helps with localization in hearing, which allows you to navigate indoor and outdoor spaces safely, being more aware of the sounds around you.
What are cochlear implants and are they right for me?
A cochlear implant is a small, electronic device that can help to provide a sense of sound to a person who is profoundly deaf or severely hard-of-hearing. The implant consists of a portion that sits behind the ear and a second part, which is surgically placed under the skin. A Cochlear implant is best used for people with a severe hearing loss, who do not benefit from standard hearing aids and are generally most successful for people who have had a relatively short length of deafness. During your hearing test your audiologist will diagnose your hearing and help you figure out if you need hearing aids or implants.
Are there any natural remedies for hearing loss?
While acupuncture and yoga and meditation have all been used to release stress from hearing loss and tinnitus there are no confirmed natural remedies. Sensorineural hearing loss occurs due to irreversible damage to the tiny hairs in the inner ear. While scientists are exploring options in which to grow back these tiny hairs, there is currently no natural or medical procedure for this. For now we must rely on hearing aids and cochlear implants in order to communicate clearly.
What can I do to protect my hearing?
In the meantime make sure you wear hearing protection in places where noise could damage your hearing worse. Any decibel level over 85dBA can damage your inner ear. Know the places where your hearing is at risk and stay prepared. If you do suspect that you have hearing loss, make an appointment to have your ears checked. 1 in 3 people over the age have hearing loss so as you reach this age bracket be sure to check your hearing annually to catch hearing loss before it can progress.