Hearing loss affects about 15% of the population in the United States, and an equal number have tinnitus symptoms. These are the primary conditions that lead to hearing aids being prescribed.
Because of the nature of each condition, it’s sometimes difficult to recognize that hearing aids can help. An ear exam and hearing test with Lawrence Otolaryngology Associates is the best place to start to learn whether you can benefit from hearing aids.
In most cases, hearing loss is gradual. As you lose capability, your brain adapts easily to these “new normals” so you won’t realize that a problem starts with you. It seems that other people are mumbling or that crowded situations are getting louder, making it hard to follow conversations.
As you turn your television up louder, you may wonder if it will soon need replacement.
In fact, these are all signs of gradual hearing loss. You can also suspect it yourself if you’ve worked in noisy environments or enjoyed plenty of loud concerts. Hearing loss can be cumulative, so exposure to loud volumes adds up.
When you consider that simply getting older is also a common cause of hearing loss, a condition called presbycusis, you may be able to recognize risk factors for hearing loss that are present in your life.
Commonly called ringing in the ear, tinnitus sounds can’t always be described as ringing. You might experience hums, buzzes, or other sounds, constant or intermittent. Tinnitus often accompanies hearing loss, so the two have a relationship that traces back to problems with the inner ear.
While there is no direct fix that makes the tinnitus go away, hearing aids can be part of a solution that lessens the intrusion of those sounds.
Hearing aids don’t change anything about the nature of your tinnitus, but they do add sounds of similar frequency back into your life. When you can once again hear sounds in these ranges that are coming from the real world, your brain adapts and tinnitus sounds are naturally filtered out of your hearing, masked by the sound boost of your hearing aids.
There are factors other than hearing loss and tinnitus that go into the decision to get hearing aids. A person who works alone or at home, for example, may put off the decision longer than someone who has a job in constant contact with others.
However, delaying the process has risks, primarily through social isolation. When you have little confidence in your hearing, you may lose enjoyment through social interaction and start to avoid situations in which you used to thrive.
This could lead to depression and further withdrawal. It’s time to get hearing aids when you want to fully engage with life, when you want to enjoy the things you always have, and when you want to sidestep the frustrations of tinnitus.
Contact Lawrence Otolaryngology Associates at the closest of their two locations in Lawrence or Ottawa to book a hearing test and learn more about the benefits of contemporary hearing aids. Call today to schedule your personal consultation.