Hearing loss affects Americans of all ages and can have serious impacts on a person’s life. Yet many people with hearing loss do not receive treatment. Lake Regional Audiologist Jonathan Wilson, Au.D., CCC-A, encourages the public to learn the signs of hearing loss and seek an evaluation if they have concerns — a timely message because May is Better Hearing & Speech Month.
“If you suspect hearing loss, don’t hesitate to seek help,” said Dr. Wilson, who cares for patients of all ages with hearing loss and dizziness at Lake Regional ENT & Audiology. “Untreated hearing loss has serious consequences for children and adults, but we have a variety of intervention and treatment options to help people hear better.”
About two to three out of every 1,000 children in the United States are born with a detectable level of hearing loss in one or both ears, and almost 15 percent of children between the ages of 6 and 19 have hearing loss. Although nearly all newborns are getting their hearing screened, many who are flagged with a potential hearing problem are not getting the follow-up care that they need.
That’s concerning because hearing loss can interfere with a child’s language exposure, which is critical to their brain and communication development.
“This disruption has the potential to cascade into a lifetime of academic and social challenges,” he said. “Early treatment is important for better results.”
Hearing loss also has serious consequences for adults. It can impact their careers, families and social lives, as well as complicate a variety of health challenges. Yet fewer than 15 percent of adults who are older than 50 and who need a hearing aid, use one.
“No matter your age, ignoring hearing loss is a terrible risk,” Dr. Wilson said. “Get checked, and learn how improving your hearing can give you a better life.”
Signs of Hearing Loss
In children, signs of hearing loss include:
- Lack of attention to sounds (birth–1 year)
- Does not respond when you call their name (7 months–1 year)
- Does not follow simple directions (1–2 years)
- Shows delays in speech and language development (birth–3 years)
- Pulls or scratches at their ears
- Has difficulty achieving academically, especially in reading and math
- Is socially isolated and unhappy in school
In adults, signs of hearing loss include:
- Buzzing or ringing in their ears
- Failure to respond to spoken words
- Muffled hearing
- Increase of TV/radio volume
- Constant frustration hearing speech and other sounds
- Conversation avoidance
- Social isolation
- Cognitive decline