Hearing Loss Facts

There is a lot of misinformation circulating about hearing loss. We’d like to set the record straight by offering you the facts. At HearWell Audiology, serving patients in Sonoma, San Jose and Los Gatos and the surrounding areas in California, we believe that knowledge is power. By providing you with the correct information about hearing loss, you’ll be able to make educated decisions when seeking treatment.

Hearing loss is the third leading major public health issue, affecting 48 million Americans, or 20% of the adult population. Depending on the cause and type, it can range from mild to profound, temporary or permanent.

One of the biggest misconceptions about hearing loss is that it only affects the elderly. Unfortunately, due to repeated exposure to loud noises, often in recreational settings, young people are experiencing hearing loss at an alarming rate. Loud music, though MP3 players, at concerts, or clubs is one culprit. Other offenders include: lawn mowers, leaf blowers, drills, city traffic, jet skis, snowmobiles: anything over 85 decibels is potentially harmful to your hearing, especially when exposed to the sounds for long durations. This is called noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) and is the most common cause of hearing loss. NIHL is cummulative and permanent, but also preventable.

Other causes of hearing loss include: congenital hearing loss (present at birth), presbycusis (age-related hearing loss), impacted earwax, ear or head trauma, repeated infections, and a perforated ear drum. For most people, its onset is gradual, so you may not even know you have it.

You may experience a ringing, humming or buzzing sound in your ears. This is called tinnitus, and often accompanies hearing loss. Most people experience short-term tinnitus after attending a loud event, such as a concert, but it is temporary and disappears on its own. But tinnitus that lasts and disrupts your life can be treated. There are several different tinnitus management options available.

Hearing Loss in Children

All states require hearing screenings at birth, before the child is discharged from the hospital. This process, referred to as Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI), allows for the early discovery and treatment for infants with hearing loss. The sooner the child is enrolled in an early intervention program, the better the outcome in language and speech development.

When hearing loss goes undetected, it may be confused with a learning disability. Even mild and one-sided hearing loss can affect a child’s ability to learn and keep up in school.

Children are sustaining impaired hearing due to NIHL as well, due to the increased use of personal listening devices, such as MP3 players. Making your child aware of the potential harm and implementing the 60-60 rule (listening at 60% of the volume, for only 60 minutes at a time) may help prevent NIHL.

At HearWell, we offer a variety of solution options for your or your loved one’s hearing loss. If you suspect your child already suffers from hearing loss, schedule an appointment for a hearing evaluation at any one of our three California locations in San Jose, Los Gatos, or Sonoma. The earlier your child’s hearing loss is detected and treated, the less it will impact his or her life.