For many people, gradual hearing loss is considered a natural process that comes with getting older. It often goes untreated due to lack of knowledge or neglect by both patients and doctors. For example, only 16% percent of physicians routinely screen for hearing loss. Even more damaging, people who believe they may be suffering from hearing loss wait an average of seven years before seeking help.

There are many risks associated with hearing loss including increasing your chances of developing other ailments. e.g. untreated hearing loss can increase your likelihood to suffer cognitive loss by five times. If you or a loved one is experiencing hearing loss, it’s important to see a professional to get a hearing test and discuss your treatment options. Treating hearing loss early and effectively can help improve your hearing and prevent long-term damage to your ears.

It’s important to note that hearing loss isn’t just an inconvenience; it affects many aspects of a person’s life and health. Below we discuss some facts about hearing loss and the risk it poses to the sufferer’s health and safety.

Who it Affects:

  • Hearing loss is a major public health issue that is the third most common physical condition after arthritis and heart disease.
  • About 20 percent of Americans, 48 million, report some degree of hearing loss.
  • One out of three people over 65 and two out of three over 75 experience hearing loss.
  • Men are more likely to develop hearing loss than women.
  • Smoking has been directly linked to higher risks of some types of hearing loss.

Related Risks and Ailments:

  • For older adults with hearing loss, cognitive abilities decline 30% – 40% faster than in adults with normal hearing.
  • Hearing loss triples your risk of falling.
  • People with untreated loss make an average of 20% less income than those with normal hearing.
  • Untreated hearing loss increases your chances of depression.

The treatment options for hearing loss vary depending on the degree or type of hearing loss, age of onset and individual lifestyle.

Sources: Center for Hearing and Communication, Hearing Loss Association of America, National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)