Do you remember the commercial from a few years ago where a man moved around from place to place with a cell phone in hand repeating, “Can you hear me now” over and over? That wireless company received a lot of mileage from that commercial. It is a good reminder for all of us to keep a check on our hearing.
About one-third of Americans between the ages of 65 and 74 have hearing problems. About one-half of Americans who are 85 years and older have hearing loss. Hearing loss can affect your life in many ways. You may miss out on conversations with friends and family. On the telephone, you may find it hard to hear what the caller is saying. At the doctor’s office, you may not catch the doctor’s words. Sometimes hearing problems can make you feel embarrassed, upset and lonely. It is easy to withdraw when you can’t follow a conversation at the dinner table or in a restaurant. It is also easy for friends and family to think you are confused, uncaring, or difficult, when the problem may be that you just can’t hear well.
Many people lose their hearing slowly as they age. This condition is known as Presbycusis. Doctors do not know why Presbycusis affects some people more than others, but it seems to run in families. Another reason for hearing loss with aging may be years of exposure to loud noise. Many construction workers, farmers, musicians, airport workers, yard and tree care workers, and people in the armed forces have hearing problem even in their younger and middle years because of too much exposure to loud noise. A hearing loss can also be caused by viral or bacterial infections, heart conditions or stroke, head injuries, tumors and certain medicines.
Do you have trouble hearing over the telephone? Do you find it hard to follow conversations when two or more people are talking? Do you need to turn up the TV volume so loud that others complain? If you answer yes to any of these questions, see your doctor as soon as possible. Depending on the type and extent of your hearing loss, there are many treatment choices that may help. Hearing loss does not have to get in the way of your ability to enjoy life.