Growing Number of Americans Developing Hearing Loss, Experts Say

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Hearing check-upAbout 15% of adults ages 18 and older have some form of trouble hearing, but according to experts, this number may be growing at an unprecedented rate.

“There is a disability not visible to the eye. Our neighbor, our friend, someone in our family, or a stranger we pass in a store may have this disability. This disability can be misdiagnosed as the beginning stages of dementia but sometimes we blame inattention as the malady,” writes Beth Harrison on Hattiesburg American. Then again we might blame sheer stubbornness rather than the true culprit — hearing loss.”

Harrison continues by citing a shocking statistic from the DeafandHoH website: 15% of Americans ages 15 to 69 have high frequency hearing loss, but not as a result of a birth defect — as a result of prolonged exposure to loud sounds. However, it’s not at all uncommon for cases of partial or high frequency hearing loss to go on undiagnosed for a long period of time.

According to a 2017 Kaufman Hall survey, one-quarter of U.S. hospitals and health systems say they hope to decrease costs by 1% to 5% over the next five years, and while there have been multiple breakthroughs in medical science regarding hearing implants, diagnosing the issue is the first step to finding the right treatment solution.

There are a number of signs and signals you should look for in your loved ones and even yourself that can indicate an underlying hearing problem. These signs include…

The ‘Everyone is Mumbling’ Excuse

While some people do mumble, chances are, not everyone around you is. If you feel like people always seem to be talking too quietly, chances are, it’s your ears that are the problem. This may be difficult because it’s often accompanied by feelings of frustration and even exclusion from being unintentionally left out of conversations.

Out of Place Laughter

It may seem strange, but on the other hand, laughing is sometimes used as a coping mechanism for hard-of-hearing individuals. If the person is laughing at unexpected or uncalled for times, they could be suffering from hearing loss. This is their way of trying to respond to social cues in order to feel more engaged with the conversation.

Constant Repetition

Finally, if you’re consistently having to repeat yourself in discussions, the person on the other end of the conversation may have some form of hearing loss. This is especially the case if you have to repeat the same responses multiple times in a row.

Ultimately, hearing loss is something that anyone can cope and live comfortably with. Recognizing the issue is the first step to finding the best treatment.

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