Hearing loss affects almost 50 million Americans today. Although hearing problems are commonly associated with the normal aging process, more than half of all hearing-impaired persons are younger than 65. With the increased use of personal music players (MP3s) and earbuds, the number of Americans experiencing hearing loss at a younger age is growing.
On average, most Americans consider hearing loss a condition that is simply associated with aging, and don’t know how to recognize the condition or who is qualified to diagnose and treat the condition. In an effort to raise public awareness for the growing number of Americans suffering from hearing loss, the American Academy of Audiology in conjunction with local audiologists, is celebrating Audiology Awareness Month this October
As part of Audiology Awareness Month, the American Academy of Audiology is encouraging consumers to be more aware of their hearing health.
Hearing loss can be caused by exposure to loud noises; ear infections, trauma, or ear disease; harm to the inner ear and ear drum; illness or certain medications; and deterioration due to normal aging process.
An audiologist is a highly educated and clinically experienced health-care professional who specialize in evaluating, diagnosing, and treating people with hearing loss and balance disorders. Hearing loss can affect patients of all ages—newborns, infants, babies, toddlers, children, teens, adults, and the elderly.
You may have a problem with your hearing and need to see an audiologist, if you have trouble hearing conversation in a noisy environment such as a restaurant, are unable to hear people talk to you without looking at them, or have a constant ringing or pain in your ears.
The first step in the treatment of a hearing problem is a hearing evaluation by an audiologist.
Audiologists have a variety of specialties to include, but not limited to:
- Performing Hearing evaluations on newborns and infants
- Prescribing and fitting hearing aids
- Designing and implementing hearing conservation programs
- Providing hearing rehabilitation training
Although most hearing loss is permanent, an audiologist can determine the best treatment, which may include hearing aids, assistive listening devices, and hearing rehabilitation.