May is National Better Hearing Month, and Sound Advice Hearing Doctors and the American Academy of Audiology are encouraging the public to make an appointment with an audiologist if they suspect hearing loss for themselves or any of their loved ones.

According to a Sound Advice news release, the National Institutes of Health NIDCD reports around 20% — 48 million — of American adults aged 20 to 69, have some trouble with hearing and about 28.8 million could benefit from the use of hearing aids.

Among adults aged 70 and older with hearing loss who could benefit from hearing aids, fewer than one in three — 30% — has ever used them, the release said.

As the baby boomer population ages, more Americans are forced to face hearing health challenges, the release added, noting “growing numbers of younger Americans are also reporting hearing problems.”

The release said the NIH NIDCD also states that five in 10 young people listen to music or other audio too loudly and that four in 10 young people are around “dangerously loud noise during events like concerts and sports games.”  

Occupational noise is another factor impacting hearing in people of all ages who work outdoors, in factories, fulfillment centers, etc, the release said.

“Technology has progressed extensively and hearing aids are no longer the bulky contraptions of years past,” Beth Gidman, AuD, CCC-A, Sound Advice Hearing Doctors, said in the release.

Gidman explained that hearing aid companies have stepped up to the plate to make “very cool” hearing aids for kids and young adults.

“You can opt to buy hearing aids that are virtually undetectable or you can buy them in a wide range of cool colors and styles,” she added. “Many work with smart phones.”

“Audiologists are the experts in hearing health,” Gidman said. “Hearing aids are not always the only or recommended solution, which is why it’s important to see an audiologist to further determine the appropriate treatment.”

Sometimes the cause is temporary or a symptom of another illness or disease, the release said. An audiologist will run various tests to determine the cause and will be able to recommend treatment.

Some signs of hearing loss may include:

-    Suddenly having to turn up the volume of the television, radio, or stereo and having other family members complain that the volume is too loud.

-    Difficulty understanding people speaking to you and asking people to repeat themselves.

-    Difficulty with phone conversations and understanding the other person.

-    Sudden inability to hear the door bell, the dog barking, and other household sounds.

-    People telling you that you speak too loudly.

-    Ringing in the ears.

School-aged children with hearing loss will sometimes exhibit poor school performance because they can’t understand the teacher assignments or classroom interactions, the release said. If hearing loss has been present from a young age, they often don’t recognize the loss and can’t identify the problem.

“Hearing loss is a problem with people of all ages,” Gidman concluded. “If you or any of your family members experience difficulty in hearing, you should make an appointment with an audiologist.”

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