Hearing loss is a common condition that can develop for various reasons, from genetic factors and aging to ear infections and exposure to loud noises.
According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), approximately 37.5 million Americans over 18 reports some trouble hearing, and 2 to 3 out of every 1,000 kids are born with detectable levels of hearing loss in at least one ear.
While hearing loss can be a frustrating and isolating experience, early detection and treatment can significantly improve quality of life and prevent further deterioration.
The Importance of Detecting Hearing Loss Early
Detecting hearing loss early is essential because it allows timely intervention and treatment, preventing the condition from worsening.
Unfortunately, many people may not realize they have hearing loss until it becomes severe.
Several signs and symptoms can indicate early signs of hearing loss in adults, including difficulty understanding speech, asking people to repeat themselves, turning up the volume on the television or radio, and avoiding social situations due to difficulty hearing.
If you experience these symptoms, seeing an audiologist for a comprehensive hearing evaluation is essential.
A hearing evaluation typically involves a series of tests that measure the ability to hear different frequencies and volumes of sound.
If hearing loss is detected, the audiologist will recommend the most appropriate treatment options based on the severity and cause of the condition.
Detecting First Signs of Hearing Loss in Children
Every state in the US has an Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) program that looks for the first signs of hearing loss in kids. These types of programs help to ensure that children born with permanent hearing issues are identified and receive timely intervention before they reach six months of age.
Kids with hearing issues often struggle with the development of speech and language as well as with cognitive and social skills, leading to adult problems like poor socialization, depression, and reduced socio-economic status if left untreated.
Screening to detect hearing loss beings when children are newborns, but not all types of hearing loss are identified at birth. In fact, hearing loss can occur at any age, making early detection critical for better outcomes.
Hearing Loss and Cognitive Function
Hearing loss can also harm cognitive function. Studies have shown that untreated hearing loss can lead to cognitive decline and an increased risk of dementia. That’s because the brain has to work harder to process sounds, which can lead to cognitive overload and exhaustion.
By treating hearing loss early, the brain can receive the stimulation it needs to maintain cognitive function and reduce the risk of cognitive decline.
In addition to improving quality of life and preventing cognitive decline, early treatment of hearing loss can also prevent further deterioration of hearing.
When hearing loss is left untreated, the brain can become less responsive to sound, and the auditory nerve can become damaged, making it more difficult to treat hearing loss in the future.
By treating hearing loss early, the auditory system can receive the stimulation it needs to maintain its function and prevent further damage.
Treatments for Hearing Loss
Hearing aids represent the most common treatment for hearing loss.
Hearing aids are small electronic devices worn in or behind the ear and amplify sound to improve hearing. They come in various styles and sizes to suit multiple hearing needs and lifestyles.
Modern hearing aids are highly advanced and can be customized for individualized sound processing and noise reduction. They can also be connected to smartphones, televisions, and other devices to stream audio directly to the hearing aids.
An audiologist may recommend cochlear implants for people with severe or profound hearing loss.
Cochlear implants are small electronic devices surgically implanted in the inner ear, stimulating the auditory nerve to provide the ability to hear. They are designed for people who do not benefit from hearing aids due to the severity of their hearing loss.
Early treatment of hearing loss with hearing aids or cochlear implants can significantly impact the patient’s quality of life.
Hearing issues can make communicating with others and participating in social activities challenging. It can also lead to feelings of isolation, depression, and anxiety.
By improving hearing, hearing aids and cochlear implants can help people reconnect with loved ones, participate in social activities, and enjoy hobbies and interests.
Early Detection and Treatment of Hearing Loss
Early detection and treatment of hearing loss are crucial for improving quality of life, preventing cognitive decline, and preventing further deterioration of hearing.
In addition to EHDI programs for children, periodic adult screening adults can help identify early signs of hearing loss in adults. Adult screening is crucial because, according to a study by Johns Hopkins and the National Institute on Aging, adult hearing loss and dementia are linked.
The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) recommends screening for early signs of hearing loss in adults at least once a decade up to age 50 and in 3-year intervals after that.
With the proper treatment, people with hearing loss can continue to enjoy the sounds of the world around them and live life to the fullest.
If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of hearing loss, Dr. Joseph K. Durán and Yvette Durán Someillán at New Generation Hearing can help.
New Generation Hearing carries the best hearing aids in Miami, with all the latest and most innovative technologies available. We are a full-service audiologist in Miami, offering free consultations. Contact us today to find out if you are eligible for insurance coverage.
In one appointment, New Generation Hearing will perform an audiological evaluation, discuss your hearing aid options and fit and train you on hearing aid use and care.
Contact New Generation Hearing today.