While aging is one of the leading causes of hearing loss, there are several other factors that may indicate it’s time to see your hearing care provider.
All ages can be screened for hearing loss. Newborns are now routinely tested before they leave the hospital, and school-age children are screened at their schools or at their physicians’ offices. According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, adults should be screened at least every decade through age 50 and at three-year intervals thereafter.
Because hearing loss often occurs gradually, few who suffer from it realize how it affects all aspects of health, including overall quality of life. Research over the past 15 years has only begun to stress the importance of seeking treatment when hearing loss becomes a factor in daily life, but only one in five people actually seeks treatment after learning they aren’t hearing their best. The four in five Americans who don’t use hearing aids can sometimes delay treatment for so long that communication — even in the most optimal situations — becomes problematic.
Many are not aware of the social and psychological effects of hearing loss; if they were, they would take their hearing health more seriously. Impaired hearing is strongly associated with increased risk of dementia, anxiety, and depression, as well as poorer physical and mental health.