Most of us grew up with a parent who suggested, on more than one occasion, that we should have our hearing checked. Selective hearing aside, hearing loss is a clear and present danger and affects 48 million people in the United States, of all ages, though it’s more prevalent among older age groups, touching half of people over the age of 75. What these numbers illustrate is that hearing loss is common, which is where a simple hearing assessment proves invaluable.
Here at ENT New York, Dr. Vandana Kumra and our team offer comprehensive hearing assessments to our greater New York area patients of all ages. This simple, and painless, testing can shed critical light on your hearing difficulties and, more importantly, helps us figure out how to restore your hearing, allowing you to plug back into the world around you.
Here’s a brief look at who should have a hearing assessment and why.
Among the young
While hearing loss is most often associated with the elderly, the fact is that some children are born with hearing loss and teens are developing the condition in alarming numbers. In fact, 1 in 5 teens has some degree of hearing loss, which is largely noise-induced.
While your newborn baby’s hearing is assessed thoroughly by your pediatrician, they tend to pay less attention to the matter as your child develops, which is understandable given all that they need to monitor.
But with 20% of teens between the ages of 12 and 19 reporting some hearing loss, largely due to noise (think headphones), the problem is more prevalent than we may have realized.
We know it’s tough to parse out the difference between teen inattentiveness and hearing difficulties, but there may be some valuable clues, like struggling in school and asking often that you repeat something. If you’re noticing that something’s amiss, we can perform a simple hearing assessment to provide you with valuable answers.
An age-old problem
Moving on to older age groups, the numbers only grow worse. Approximately 26 million people in the United States between the ages of 20 and 69 report hearing loss, which is largely noise-induced and age-related, the two main drivers of hearing loss.
If you work in a noisy environment or you’ve served in the military, you may be especially prone to hearing loss. And adults over the age of 50 often naturally, and gradually, lose their hearing.
To figure out whether you may have a problem, the following are the red flags you should watch out for:
- Voices sound muffled
- Inability to hear in loud places, like at a restaurant
- Turning up the volume on your TV or music
- Ringing in your ears
- Problems hearing on the phone
In addition to these red flags are the ones that are missing. In other words, listen to the world around you and see if you’re missing certain sounds that you usually hear, such as birds or other higher-pitched sounds.
To drive home the problem, hearing loss among Americans has doubled between 2000 and 2015, and this is attributable to the increase in noise, as well as an aging population. Despite this increase, only a fraction of people with hearing loss get help. One report suggests that 95% of people with hearing loss could benefit from hearing aids, yet only 23% use them.
So, to answer the question posed in the title about who should have a hearing assessment, the answer is anyone who’s experiencing problems with their hearing, no matter their age (though we do recommend that everyone over 50 come in for an assessment so that we can establish a baseline).
The benefits of restoring your hearing are almost without limit as you’re able to make your way through the world with all of your critical senses intact.
To get your hearing assessed, painlessly and quickly, please give us a call or use the online booking tool to set up an appointment.