Hearing Health Facts

The Facts

We’re getting back on track with our weekly posts, and we are happy to do so via our new wordpress blog!  All of the previous #WednesdayWisdom posts have been archived here, and all of our posts will include tags to make specific information easier to find.  We also realize that while most do, not everyone does have Facebook, so sharing is more inclusive on the blog.

We’re looking forward to continuing our journey together in the quest for a better understanding of hearing and in helping you to maintain your hearing health!

To kick things off, we thought we’d share a few facts and statistics:

  • FACT: 48 million Americans have a significant hearing loss.
  • FACT: Over 90% of deaf children are born to hearing parents.
  • FACT: 14% of those ages 45-64 have some type of hearing loss
  • FACT: 15% of children between the ages of 6-19 have a measurable hearing loss in at least one ear.
  • FACT: Hearing loss occurs in 5 out of every 1,000 newborns.
  • FACT: Exposure to a noisy subway, for just 15 minutes a day overtime, can cause permanent damage to hearing over time.
  • FACT: Hearing aids can offer dramatic improvement for most people with hearing loss.
  • FACT: A mild hearing loss can cause a child to miss as much as 50% of classroom discussion.
  • FACT: Listening to an MP3 Player at high volumes over time can cause permanent damage to hearing.
  • FACT: With early identification and appropriate services, deaf children can develop communication skills at the same rate as their hearing peers.
  • FACT: Noise is one of the leading causes of hearing loss.
  • FACT: Tinnitus (ringing in the ears) affects 50 million people in the United States.
  • FACT: Babies are never too young to have their hearing tested.
  • FACT: Speech-reading is the more current word for lip-reading.
  • FACT: People with hearing loss wait an average of 7 years before seeking help.
  • FACT: Only 16% of physicians routinely screen for hearing loss.
  • FACT: 15 million people in the United States with hearing loss avoid seeking help.
  • FACT: 1 out of 3 people over age 65 have some degree of hearing loss.
  • FACT: 2 out of 3 people over 75 have a hearing loss.
  • FACT: Approximately 3 million children in the U.S. have a hearing loss; 1.3 million of them are under the age of three.

Hearing loss affects 48 million people in the United States. Hearing loss can occur at birth or can develop at any age. There have been many advances in all aspects of hearing health care so that from the youngest infant to the eldest senior citizen, there are new and exciting options available to help. Treatment options vary depending on the degree or type of hearing loss, age of onset and individual lifestyle needs. If you suspect that you or a family member has a hearing loss, the best place to start is with a hearing evaluation by a licensed audiologist.

The two types of hearing loss

conductive hearing loss indicates that there is a problem with the mechanism that conducts sound from the environment to the inner ear. Problems in the external auditory canal (outer ear), ear drum or the bones of hearing (the middle ear) may cause a conductive loss. This type of loss can often be corrected by medication or surgery. If it cannot be corrected, the individual can usually do very well with a hearing aid.

sensorineural hearing loss indicates a problem in the organ of hearing or the nerve of hearing. There may be damage to the cochlea (inner ear), auditory nerve, or the auditory centers of the brain. An individual with a sensorineural hearing loss may benefit from a hearing aid, cochlear implant, communication therapies, other medical management depending on the degree of the loss or the cause of the loss.

A hearing evaluation consists of a number of tests to measure how well you hear. The test results are reported on a form called an audiogram.  Testing takes approximately fifteen minutes for adults and slightly longer for children (once they understand there are no shots involved, it’s all good!) Both adults and children are welcome to a lollipop after their test.

consumer-infographics-journey

Do you have a hearing health-related question or topic you’d like to read more about? Feel free to comment here and we’ll dedicate a post to it!

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Auditory Deprivation

Welcome to the latest installation of #WednesdayWisdom!
Every week we’ll post information relating to hearing.

Our goal is to provide valuable information so that you can take an active part in maintaining your #hearinghealth.
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This week’s post focuses on important information relating to Auditory Deprivation.

You’ve heard the saying “Use it or lose it” and hearing definitely falls into that category!

Unlike loss of vision, ignored hearing loss will make it exponentially harder to treat.

Our previous posts touched on how sound travels through the ear and how sound is processed by the brain. But it isn’t just sound being captured, it’s sound being transformed into something that evokes a response!

If “Look out” “Come here” and “I love you” were said at the same volume and pitch to a person with healthy hearing, it would result in very different reactions. Said to someone with hearing loss who is suffering from Auditory Deprivation would possibly result in confusion or a request to repeat it.

The cerebrum is the part of the brain that handles daily tasks. It analyzes information, makes decisions, stores information and processes what the eyes see, the tongue tastes and the ears hear. The temporal lobes are sections of the cerebrum and they are responsible for hearing, storing new memories and bringing back old ones.

Use it or lose it:
When there is difficulty hearing, it’s because there is a loss of information entering the brain. The auditory nerve, which carries sound information, begins to weaken. As a result, the brain works harder to make sense of what it’s hearing. Weakness of this shared area of the brain is connected to dementia and Alzheimer’s. To be clear, hearing loss does not guarantee either, but individuals with hearing loss have a 40% greater chance of cognitive difficulty; even if the hearing loss is minor.

Hearing loss can be hastened by numerous medical conditions. Get your hearing tested annually.

Don’t let hearing loss rob you of your memories.


Interested in more in-depth information? Check these links:

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/…/hearing_loss_linked…

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4811604/

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Seventh Edition of Wednesday Wisdom

Welcome to the seventh installation of #WednesdayWisdom! Every week we’ll post information relating to hearing.

Our goal is to provide valuable information so that you can take an active part in maintaining your #hearinghealth.
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This is our fourth and final in a four-part series relating to degrees of hearing loss, and how to recognize them in ourselves, and in others.

This week’s focus is: Profound hearing loss

Last week we posted about Severe hearing loss, which is when the majority of individuals are already aware that they are suffering a loss of hearing.

People who suffer from Profound hearing loss are very hard of hearing and rely mostly on lip-reading, and/or sign language.

On average, the most quiet sounds heard by people at a Profound hearing loss level are from 90 dB or louder. Sounds that are among those that grow fainter within the range of Profound hearing loss are the noise inside a subway car, a sporting event, a rock band, and an emergency vehicle siren.

The sounds that were listed in our prior Mild, Moderate and Severe levels (ranging from light traffic to conversational speech to a lawn mower) are already beyond the person’s ability to hear, and are beyond hope of recapture.

Most people who experience hearing loss treat it with the use of hearing aids. Approximately 30% of hearing aid wearers experience severe to profound levels of hearing loss. Meanwhile, people with mild to moderate hearing loss (the other 70%) are able to hear sounds as soft as 25 to 60 dB.

Hearing loss can also vary from ear to ear, making it even more difficult to determine on our own whether we’re experiencing issues. This is just another reason why it is critical to get a yearly hearing exam.

Hearing cannot be recaptured once it is lost, but the use of hearing aids can slow the decline of hearing, preserving the ability that remains. As we posted last week, this has to do with Auditory Deprivation, which we will make the focus of next week’s posting.

The term “hearing aids” typically bring to mind a negative image; however, today’s devices are far smaller with greater capabilities, and with a wide range of additional options and features.

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Sixth Edition of Wednesday Wisdom

Welcome to the sixth installation of #WednesdayWisdom! Every week we’ll post information relating to hearing.

Our goal is to provide valuable information so that you can take an active part in maintaining your #hearinghealth.
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This is our third in a four-part series relating to degrees of hearing loss, and how to recognize them in ourselves, and in others.

This week’s focus is: Severe hearing loss

Last week we posted about Moderate hearing loss, which is when most people become aware that they are experiencing a deficit.

In the majority of cases when patients come in to see us and are already aware that they are suffering a hearing loss and must do something about it, their hearing has progressed to Severe levels after the warning signs at the mild and moderate levels have been dismissed or ignored.

The sounds that can become difficult to hear at this range, are between 70 and 89 dB. Sounds in this range include a toilet flushing, an alarm clock, a passing truck or a lawn mower.

People who suffer from severe hearing loss will benefit from powerful hearing aids, but often they rely heavily on lip-reading even when they are using hearing aids.

Hearing loss can also vary from ear to ear, making it even more difficult to determine on our own whether we’re experiencing issues. This is just another reason why it is critical to get a yearly hearing exam.

Hearing cannot be recaptured once it is lost, but the use of hearing aids can slow the decline of hearing, preserving the ability that remains.

The reason for this is something called Auditory Deprivation. Simply put, your ears function as instruments to collect sounds and deliver these sounds to your brain. The speech interpretation center of your brain processes these sounds into words. If your ears cannot hear the sounds, then your brain does not have anything to process. The lack of stimulation in this area of the brain causes you to lose the functionality of understanding speech. So, basically if you aren’t hearing the words, you eventually lose the ability to understand them.

We will cover Auditory Deprivation in more detail after we complete our “degrees of hearing loss” series, which will finish next week.

If you find yourself asking others to repeat themselves over Thanksgiving dinner, it is time to call an Audiologist and schedule a hearing exam.

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Fifth Edition of Wednesday Wisdom

Welcome to the fifth installation of #WednesdayWisdom! Every week we’ll post information relating to hearing.

Our goal is to provide valuable information so that you can take an active part in maintaining your #hearinghealth.
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This is our second in a four-part series relating to degrees of hearing loss, and how to recognize them in ourselves, and in others.

This week’s focus is: Moderate hearing loss

Last week we started the series with Mild hearing loss, and wrote about the dangers of ignoring the warning signs indicating the beginning stages of a deficit. Ignoring a hearing problem, or dismissing the signs can lead to further decline. And as we stated last week, once hearing loss occurs, there is no recapturing it.

People who suffer from moderate hearing loss have difficulty keeping up with conversations when not using a hearing aid. Moderate hearing loss covers the range of 41dB to 70dB. At this level, you are asking people to repeat themselves a lot during conversations – in person and on the telephone.

Individuals with this degree of hearing loss cannot hear sounds lower than 40-69 dB.

Some sounds that may start to fade at these levels, if left unchecked may be light traffic, the hum of the refrigerator, the air conditioner, and conversational speech. As the decline rate increases, sounds like a shower running or the dishwasher will also be difficult to hear.

The difference in hearing is more noticeable from a mild loss level, at which a whisper is difficult to hear, to the moderate level, where the sound of conversation or a refrigerator or air conditioner may start to be difficult to hear.

Hearing loss can also vary from ear to ear, making it even more difficult to determine on our own whether we’re experiencing issues. This is just another reason why it is critical to get a yearly hearing exam.

Hearing loss can happen so gradually that it goes by unnoticed. Try having conversations without looking at the person who’s speaking. You may find that certain words are harder to distinguish. When mild becomes moderate, we unconsciously begin to read lips.

Hearing aids today are far smaller and more dynamic than those worn by prior generations. Many of them also have cool technological capabilities, like bluetooth!

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Fourth Edition of Wednesday Wisdom

Welcome to the fourth installation of #WednesdayWisdom! Every week we’ll post information relating to hearing.

Our goal is to provide valuable information so that you can take an active part in maintaining your #hearinghealth.
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Last Wednesday’s post was about the roles that different parts of our ears play in how we process sounds.

This week begins a four-part series relating to degrees of hearing loss, and how to recognize them in ourselves, and in others.

This week’s focus is: Mild hearing loss

A mild level of hearing loss is the most critical stage in terms of being proactive, because it is most easily dismissed. Once hearing declines, the hearing that was lost, is lost forever and can never be fully recaptured.

So what is mild hearing loss?

On average, at healthy hearing thresholds, the quietest sounds that people can hear are between 25 and 40 decibels.

To give you a refresher on decibel levels:
Breathing is 10 decibels,
Rustling leaves are 20 decibels,
A whisper is 30 decibels,
The hum of a computer is 40 decibels.

People who suffer from mild hearing loss have some difficulties keeping up with conversations, especially in noisy surroundings. It is easy to chalk it up to your surroundings, but it is important to understand that at this stage, where there is a mild loss, is the time when action should be taken to prevent further decline.

Unlike eyeglasses which correct our vision, hearing aids function as a means to maintain the individual’s current level of hearing, assists in the processing of sounds, and provides a benefit in terms of preventing further decline in hearing.
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Whether you feel you have completely normal hearing, or you think your hearing has slipped into “mild” territory, it is important to have your hearing tested each and every year. Fifteen minutes, pain free. We’d love to hear from you!

We have offices in Brooklyn and Manhattan

Audiological Diagnostics, PC (718) 745-2826

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Third Edition of Wednesday Wisdom

Welcome to the third installation of Wednesday Wisdom! Every week we’ll post information relating to hearing.

Our goal is to provide valuable information so that you can take an active part in maintaining your hearing health.
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One of the five senses, hearing can be taken for granted, or thought of as a simple human mechanism, but like most of our abilities, hearing is a complex process! Our ears pick up sound and attach meaning to it. The ability to hear is critical to understanding the world around us.

The human ear is a fully developed part of our bodies at birth and responds to sounds that are very faint as well as sounds that are very loud. Even before birth, infants respond to sound.

So, how do we hear?

The ear can be divided into three parts leading up to the brain – the outer ear, middle ear and the inner ear.

The outer ear consists of the ear canal and eardrum. Sound travels down the ear canal, striking the eardrum and causing it to move or vibrate.

The middle ear is a space behind the eardrum that contains three small bones called ossicles. This chain of tiny bones is connected to the eardrum at one end and to an opening to the inner ear at the other end. Vibrations from the eardrum cause the ossicles to vibrate which, in turn, creates movement of the fluid in the inner ear.

Movement of the fluid in the inner ear, or cochlea, causes changes in tiny structures called hair cells. This movement of the hair cells sends electric signals from the inner ear up the auditory nerve (also known as the hearing nerve) to the brain.

The brain then interprets these electrical signals as sound.
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Whether you feel you have completely normal hearing, or you think you may have a deficit, a hearing test is important to get every year. Fifteen minutes, pain free. Call us today – we’d love to hear from you.

Hearing loss can be gradual and hard to catch, and once it’s gone it’s gone. Better to be safe now, than sorry later.