“Oh you men who think or say that I am malevolent, stubborn, or misanthropic, how greatly you do wrong me. You do not know the secret cause which makes me seem that way to you. Oh how harshly was I flung back by the doubly sad experience of my bad hearing.” – Ludwig van Beethoven
Hearing loss that is significant enough to impact family relationships, employment, and overall quality of life is a remarkably under-diagnosed and under-discussed issue among people of all ages. Hearing impairment impedes one of our most basic needs as human beings: communication with others. When communication becomes cumbersome or, in some cases, nearly impossible, it is not only the individual with the hearing loss who is impacted, but the entire family. The number of individuals living with hearing loss is large and growing larger as the Baby Boomers age and more young people are experiencing noise induced hearing loss. A study from Johns Hopkins in 2011 (Lin, et al.) found a link between untreated hearing loss and dementia, hypothesizing that the isolation experienced by individuals with significant hearing loss is a contributing factor to onset of dementia. The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) has compiled the following statistics regarding hearing loss:
- 2 to 3 babies out of every 1,000 are born with a detectable level of hearing loss in one or both ears.
- More than 90% of deaf children are born to hearing parents.
- 13% of the US population, roughly 30 million people, aged 12 years or older has hearing loss in both ears.
- Men are more likely than women to report hearing loss.
- About 2% of adults aged 45-54 have disabling hearing loss. The rate increases to 8.5% for adults aged 55-64; nearly 25% of those aged 65-74 and 50% of those who are 75 and older have disabling hearing loss.
- 15% of Americans aged 20-69 have high frequency hearing loss due to noise exposure at work or from leisure activities.
- Among adults aged 70 and older with hearing loss who could benefit from hearing aids less than 30% has ever used them. Among adults aged 20-69 who could benefit from hearing aids only 16% has ever used them.
Hearing aids have evolved considerably from the obtrusive “big beige bananas” of yesterday to the slim, sleek, high tech devices of today. Current hearing aid technology, even in the most basic of hearing aids, has the capability to actively listen to a user’s environment and self-adjust accordingly. This means your hearing aid can tell if you are at home quietly reading a book or if you are out in a crowded restaurant and can then make adjustments automatically. Modern hearing aid technology is also Bluetooth™ compatible, meaning you can make and receive phone calls, stream sound from television or computers, and listen to music through your hearing aids, all wirelessly. Arizona Hearing and Balance works with hearing aids from all major manufacturers and our audiologists are experts in recommending the most appropriate technology for your type of hearing loss, your lifestyle, and your budget. As our audiologists do not work on commission, you can be sure you are getting honest, knowledgeable advice without any ulterior motives. All hearing aids at Arizona Hearing and Balance Center come with a three year warranty against repair and a one-time loss per aid. As most individuals will keep a set of hearing aids for roughly 4 to 7 years, choosing an aid that is right for you is critical. The audiologists at Arizona Hearing and Balance Center are here to provide professional, compassionate care for you and your family as you take the next step to better communication. If you are concerned about your hearing or are an existing hearing aid user ready to update your technology, please make an appointment with one of our audiologists today.