1 in 6 adults experience some degree of hearing loss
Imagine dining in a busy restaurant. In the background there are dishes clattering, chairs scraping, people talking and laughing, and waiters rushing about. You are straining to follow what is happening at your table – and the effort of doing this is starting to make you feel more and more tired.
Eventually, you start pretending you can hear. You nod, look interested and laugh with the crowd even though you didn’t get the jokes. You begin to feel left out. When you leave the restaurant you have a throbbing headache, disappointment and no plans to repeat the experience anytime soon.
Symptoms of Hearing Loss
If you can answer YES to one or more of these questions you might have hearing loss:
1. Do you find that people around you mumble or speak softly?
2. Do you find conversations in restaurants or crowded places difficult?
3. Do you often have to turn up the volume on your TV, radio or phone?
4. Do friends and family members complain that they have to repeat what they say to you?
5. Do you have to look at people’s faces in order to be able to understand what they are saying?
6. Have you noticed that everyday sounds, like the twittering of birds, footsteps or the clock ticking, are gone?
- Age-related hearing loss is common among older adults. About 1 in 3 people between the ages of 65 and 74 have hearing loss. It affects half of adults over age 75.
- People with hearing loss wait an average of 5 – 7 years before they seek help. Only 15% of these people will actually get the help they need.
- Experts, including those at Johns Hopkins, have suggested over the past few years that the physical and mental decline seen older adults experiencing hearing loss may be related to social isolation, which can often occur as untreated hearing loss progresses over time. The impact of social isolation might then lead to more frequent illnesses and ultimately hospitalization. “Hearing loss may have a profoundly detrimental effect on older people’s physical and mental well-being and even health care resources,” said Frank Lin, M.D., Ph.D., senior study investigator and Johns Hopkins otologist and epidemiologist.