Hearing loss

Learn about hearing loss symptoms, causes and treatment.

Contact a hearing professional

Hearing loss statistics

  • About 20 percent of Americans, 48 million, report some degree of hearing loss.
  • At age 65, one out of three people has a hearing loss.
  • 60 percent of the people with hearing loss are either in the work force or in educational settings.
  • While people in the workplace with the mildest hearing losses show little or no drop in income compared to their normal hearing peers, as the hearing loss increases, so does the reduction in compensation.
  • About 2-3 of every 1,000 children in the United States are born with a detectable hearing loss in one or both ears.
  • Almost 15 percent of school children (ages 6-19) have some degree of hearing loss.

Facts about hearing loss

While there are different types of hearing loss, presbycusis (loss of hearing that occurs gradually as one ages) is the most common for those 55 and older. Exposure to loud noises also contributes to many with hearing damage. Genetics, birth defects, infections of the head or ear, excessive earwax (temporary hearing loss issue), and reactions to drugs are all triggers for hearing loss. While you cannot reverse most types of hearing loss, there are options to improve your hearing.

Your overall health and well-being can be directly linked to hearing health.

1 in 6 Americans experience hearing loss. 80% do nothing about it.
Untreated hearing loss has been linked to dementia and other cognitive disorders.
Hearing impairment is more common in men.
Hearing loss is twice as common as in people with diabetes compared to those without.
Hearing loss is the third most prevalent are-related disability following arthritis and hypertension suffered by adults 75 and over.

Common signs of hearing loss

  • Asking others to repeat themselves
  • Turning up the TV or radio to volume levels others find loud
  • Having trouble understanding conversation in noisy places
  • Feeling like other people mumble or slur their words
  • Having trouble hearing women's and children's voices
  • Having trouble hearing on the telephone
  • Feeling more irritable or depressed
  • Avoiding social situations that were once enjoyable
  • Having difficulty following a fast-moving conversation
  • Missing important information in meetings
  • Being told by others that you have hearing problems

Take action

While most instances of hearing loss cannot be reversed, there are ways to improve hearing. Seeing a hearing specialist sooner is better.

Over time, reduced stimulation to your ears and brain can actually impair the brain’s ability to process sound and recognize speech.

The more speech recognition deteriorates, the more difficult it is to recover. When you can’t hear what’s going on around you, your mental sharpness suffers.

If you feel you or a loved one has an issue hearing, the sooner you take action to contact a hearing specialist, the sooner you put a stop to many negative effects of hearing loss.

The good news...

With today's modern advancements in hearing aid technology, there is no reason to "just put up" with hearing loss anymore.


Six Steps to Better Hearing guide

Download PDF

Why is it important to improve your hearing?

Treatment of hearing loss has been shown to improve:

  • Communication in relationships
  • Intimacy and warmth in family relationships
  • Ease in communication
  • Earning power
  • Sense of control over your life
  • Social participation
  • Emotional stability

Hearing aids can provide valuable benefits to improve your quality of life in a number of important ways. They can help you to:

Hear better in situations that are important to you – Fully participate with family, friends and co-workers again.

Stay connected – Loss of hearing can lead to isolation and depression. With hearing aids, you can connect with the world and regain your quality of life.

Avoid becoming a burden to those around you – Wearing a hearing aid can be a courtesy to others, reducing frustration and eliminating the need for them to raise their voices or repeat things to you.

Identify speech in noise – Hearing aids can improve the brain’s ability to process speech when there is competing background noise, like in a restaurant or crowd. Hearing aid technology continues to improve and hearing better in noise is a primary focus of the current hearing aid technology.

Stay sharp – Hearing loss contributes to reductions in cognitive and communication abilities — it can even be misdiagnosed as dementia. Hearing aids can help improve your abilities, keeping you on top of your game.

Be alert to what’s happening around you – Hearing enables you to sense alarms, sirens, traffic, telephones, doorbells and other important signals at home, work and in the community.

Work longer and earn more – Studies clearly demonstrate that untreated loss of hearing can impact your success on the job, with even a mild hearing loss reducing earning potential. Using hearing aids can help you communicate successfully on the job so you maintain your productivity, professional standing and income.


Discover 50 great reasons to treat your hearing loss

Discover now

Preparing for your appointment

As you prepare to make an appointment with a hearing professional, there are a few important things to keep in mind.

First, find a hearing professional near your home or workplace. Getting treatment for hearing problems is an ongoing process, and you'll want to make the process as convenient as possible. Find a number of local hearing professionals, or you can call (888) 481-5512 for help.

Whether you're looking for a knowledgeable hearing professional in your area or simply gathering basic information about hearing problems, a phone call is a great first step. In either case, it’s important to work with a licensed, authorized hearing professional, and all of the professionals you’ll find here meet those qualifications.

Many hearing professionals will ask you to complete some paperwork prior to your appointment. You may receive this paperwork by mail, and other providers will have you complete the paperwork when you get to your appointment. Be thorough when providing information about your medical history, especially if your hearing loss might be associated with another health problem or an injury.

If possible, bring a spouse, family member, or friend to the appointment with you. You’ll receive a great deal of information during your first appointment, and it can be helpful to have another person listening and taking notes. Seeing how you respond to a familiar voice throughout your appointment will also help the hearing professional understand more about your loss of hearing.

During this initial hearing meeting, you and your hearing professional will decide if you need a full evaluation with a variety of hearing tests. Your hearing difficulty may be something as simple as earwax, or it may be a common age-related loss of hearing. Either way, you'll find out exactly where you stand and what you can do about it.

You undoubtedly have lots of questions about hearing loss and your options for treatment. Be sure to write them down and bring the list to your appointment.

Here are some questions to help you get started:

  • Do I have hearing loss, and if so, what type?
  • Is it medically treatable?
  • What are my treatment options?
  • Can I prevent further loss of hearing?
  • Is there anything I can do on my own to hear better?

Your initial examination should take about an hour, but then you’ll have accomplished the most important step on your journey to better hearing! Call (888) 481-5512 or find a list of hearing professionals near you.

What are hearing aids?

In its simplest form, hearing aids are like a miniature PA system with four basic components: microphone, amplifier, a speaker (receiver), and power supply (batteries).

Like many other high-tech devices (TVs, phones, computers), hearing aids have experienced a major technological revolution in the past decade and especially in the last few years. The best of today’s hearing technology are designed to virtually eliminate feedback, make listening in noisy environments easier and more comfortable, stream stereo sound from TVs and radios directly to the hearing aid itself, let you talk on your phone hands-free, and much more. Now, instruments are smaller (and in some cases, invisible), more comfortable and powerful than ever.

Hearing test

Test your hearing today

Take our online hearing test simulator or visit a hearing professional in your area for a comprehensive hearing evaluation.

This test should take less than 5 minutes.

Contact a hearing professional

You might also like: