Recognizing Hearing Loss

Reviewed Aug 16, 2016

Close

E-mail Article

Complete form to e-mail article…

Required fields are denoted by an asterisk (*) adjacent to the label.

Separate multiple recipients with a comma

Close

Sign-Up For Newsletters

Complete this form to sign-up for newsletters…

Required fields are denoted by an asterisk (*) adjacent to the label.

 

Summary

  • Can affect anyone, any age
  • Variety of causes
  • Know the signs

Hearing loss does not discriminate. It can affect anyone, from infants to senior citizens. Perhaps you’ve noticed that you have a hard time following conversation in a group, or that your baby doesn’t react to loud sounds. If you think you or a loved one may have hearing problems, you should know how to recognize the symptoms and learn how to get help.

The statistics

Over 37 million people in the United States are deaf or hearing impaired, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD). To help put those statistics in perspective, consider how hearing loss affects different age groups. One in four people older than age 65 have from hearing loss. As people age, the hearing problems become more common—about half of those older than 75 are affected.

And not everyone with hearing loss develops it later in life. The NIDCD also reports that about two to three babies out of 1,000 are born with a noticeable hearing impairment, and that it affects almost 15 percent of those over 18.

“Children can either be born with hearing loss or can begin to have hearing problems when they grow older,” says Marin Allen, Chief of the Office of Health Communication and Public Liaison for NIDCD. “About 90 percent of children who are deaf are born to hearing parents.”

Causes of hearing loss

Just as hearing loss can affect a variety of people, it has a variety of causes. “Deafness or hearing impairment may be caused by genetic factors, noise or trauma, sensitivity to certain drugs or medications, and viral or bacterial infections,” Dr. Allen explains. “More than 300 inherited syndromes involve hearing impairment. Some hereditary hearing loss may be progressive or may appear later in childhood or adulthood as late-onset hearing impairment or deafness.” But, she points out, people can prevent noise-induced hearing loss by avoiding noises that are very loud, very close, or that continue for a long period of time. 

Effects of hearing loss

Hearing loss can have devastating effects on both children and adults. Children with even mild or moderate hearing impairment can miss as much as half of classroom discussion, the Alexander Graham Bell Association notes. The problem can impact speech and language development, educational progress, self-image, and psychological development.

In adults, hearing loss can prove frustrating, embarrassing, and even dangerous. It can make interacting with others difficult, cause stress and fatigue, and prevent people from hearing alarms, doorbells, warnings, doctor’s advice, and other important information.

Recognizing hearing loss in children

The NIDCD recommends that parents be aware of the signs that their baby is hearing normally, including:

  • Reacts to loud noises (birth to 3 months)
  • Babbles when excited or unhappy (4 to 6 months)
  • Imitates sounds and turns toward new sounds (7 to 12 months)
  • Has one or two words by first birthday
  • Uses two-word sentences to talk and follows simple directions (1 to 2 years)
  • Speaks in a way that is understood by family and friends (2 to 3 years)

The NIDCD and other hearing-related organizations publish more extensive hearing checklists for children online.

Recognizing hearing loss in adults

If you think you may be experiencing hearing loss, Dr. Allen suggests that you ask yourself a few simple questions:

  • Do you have trouble hearing over the telephone?
  • Do you have difficulty following a conversation in a group?
  • Do family members complain that you turn the volume up too loud on the television or radio?
  • Do you strain to understand conversations? 
  • Does it seem that people are mumbling when they speak to you?
  • Do you often ask people to repeat themselves?
  • Do you respond inappropriately to conversation?
  • Do you find it especially hard to hear women and children?
  • Do people become annoyed because you misunderstand them?
  • Do you have trouble hearing in a noisy background?

The importance of a professional screening

If you answered “yes” to at least three questions, see an audiologist (a health care professional who diagnoses and treats hearing disorders and balance problems) or otolaryngologist (a health care professional who specializes in treatment of patients with diseases and disorders of the ear, nose, and throat) for an evaluation. Professional organizations such as the American Academy of Audiology can provide you with a list of specialists in your area.

Parents of children with hearing problems should immediately consider communication options, Dr. Allen emphasizes. “The national goal is to screen all infants at birth in the newborn nursery or within the first month of life,” she says. “Then, the child needs to be tested and diagnosed within three months and interventions should begin by six months.”

Help for hearing problems

Although a specialist must help determine appropriate treatment for a person with hearing problems, assistive devices include:

  • Hearing aids. There are now many different types of hearing aids available. In fact, more than 95 percent of people with hearing impairment can benefit from hearing aids, according to the American Academy of Audiology.
  • Cochlear implants. These devices process speech and send sound signals to the brain.
  • Personal amplifiers and FM systems. These can help people with hearing problems function in conversation and public events.
  • Auditory training systems and loop systems. These devices can help eliminate or lessen background noises.

Other communications options include American Sign Language, cued speech, and signed English.

Resources

Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
www.agbell.org
 
American Academy of Audiology
www.audiology.org
 
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
www.nidcd.nih.gov

By Kristen Knight
Source: Your Baby's Hearing and Communicative Development Checklist, National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/hearing/pages/silence.aspx; NIH's Quick Statistics About Hearing, https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/statistics/quick-statistics-hearing.

Summary

  • Can affect anyone, any age
  • Variety of causes
  • Know the signs

Hearing loss does not discriminate. It can affect anyone, from infants to senior citizens. Perhaps you’ve noticed that you have a hard time following conversation in a group, or that your baby doesn’t react to loud sounds. If you think you or a loved one may have hearing problems, you should know how to recognize the symptoms and learn how to get help.

The statistics

Over 37 million people in the United States are deaf or hearing impaired, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD). To help put those statistics in perspective, consider how hearing loss affects different age groups. One in four people older than age 65 have from hearing loss. As people age, the hearing problems become more common—about half of those older than 75 are affected.

And not everyone with hearing loss develops it later in life. The NIDCD also reports that about two to three babies out of 1,000 are born with a noticeable hearing impairment, and that it affects almost 15 percent of those over 18.

“Children can either be born with hearing loss or can begin to have hearing problems when they grow older,” says Marin Allen, Chief of the Office of Health Communication and Public Liaison for NIDCD. “About 90 percent of children who are deaf are born to hearing parents.”

Causes of hearing loss

Just as hearing loss can affect a variety of people, it has a variety of causes. “Deafness or hearing impairment may be caused by genetic factors, noise or trauma, sensitivity to certain drugs or medications, and viral or bacterial infections,” Dr. Allen explains. “More than 300 inherited syndromes involve hearing impairment. Some hereditary hearing loss may be progressive or may appear later in childhood or adulthood as late-onset hearing impairment or deafness.” But, she points out, people can prevent noise-induced hearing loss by avoiding noises that are very loud, very close, or that continue for a long period of time. 

Effects of hearing loss

Hearing loss can have devastating effects on both children and adults. Children with even mild or moderate hearing impairment can miss as much as half of classroom discussion, the Alexander Graham Bell Association notes. The problem can impact speech and language development, educational progress, self-image, and psychological development.

In adults, hearing loss can prove frustrating, embarrassing, and even dangerous. It can make interacting with others difficult, cause stress and fatigue, and prevent people from hearing alarms, doorbells, warnings, doctor’s advice, and other important information.

Recognizing hearing loss in children

The NIDCD recommends that parents be aware of the signs that their baby is hearing normally, including:

  • Reacts to loud noises (birth to 3 months)
  • Babbles when excited or unhappy (4 to 6 months)
  • Imitates sounds and turns toward new sounds (7 to 12 months)
  • Has one or two words by first birthday
  • Uses two-word sentences to talk and follows simple directions (1 to 2 years)
  • Speaks in a way that is understood by family and friends (2 to 3 years)

The NIDCD and other hearing-related organizations publish more extensive hearing checklists for children online.

Recognizing hearing loss in adults

If you think you may be experiencing hearing loss, Dr. Allen suggests that you ask yourself a few simple questions:

  • Do you have trouble hearing over the telephone?
  • Do you have difficulty following a conversation in a group?
  • Do family members complain that you turn the volume up too loud on the television or radio?
  • Do you strain to understand conversations? 
  • Does it seem that people are mumbling when they speak to you?
  • Do you often ask people to repeat themselves?
  • Do you respond inappropriately to conversation?
  • Do you find it especially hard to hear women and children?
  • Do people become annoyed because you misunderstand them?
  • Do you have trouble hearing in a noisy background?

The importance of a professional screening

If you answered “yes” to at least three questions, see an audiologist (a health care professional who diagnoses and treats hearing disorders and balance problems) or otolaryngologist (a health care professional who specializes in treatment of patients with diseases and disorders of the ear, nose, and throat) for an evaluation. Professional organizations such as the American Academy of Audiology can provide you with a list of specialists in your area.

Parents of children with hearing problems should immediately consider communication options, Dr. Allen emphasizes. “The national goal is to screen all infants at birth in the newborn nursery or within the first month of life,” she says. “Then, the child needs to be tested and diagnosed within three months and interventions should begin by six months.”

Help for hearing problems

Although a specialist must help determine appropriate treatment for a person with hearing problems, assistive devices include:

  • Hearing aids. There are now many different types of hearing aids available. In fact, more than 95 percent of people with hearing impairment can benefit from hearing aids, according to the American Academy of Audiology.
  • Cochlear implants. These devices process speech and send sound signals to the brain.
  • Personal amplifiers and FM systems. These can help people with hearing problems function in conversation and public events.
  • Auditory training systems and loop systems. These devices can help eliminate or lessen background noises.

Other communications options include American Sign Language, cued speech, and signed English.

Resources

Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
www.agbell.org
 
American Academy of Audiology
www.audiology.org
 
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
www.nidcd.nih.gov

By Kristen Knight
Source: Your Baby's Hearing and Communicative Development Checklist, National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/hearing/pages/silence.aspx; NIH's Quick Statistics About Hearing, https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/statistics/quick-statistics-hearing.

Summary

  • Can affect anyone, any age
  • Variety of causes
  • Know the signs

Hearing loss does not discriminate. It can affect anyone, from infants to senior citizens. Perhaps you’ve noticed that you have a hard time following conversation in a group, or that your baby doesn’t react to loud sounds. If you think you or a loved one may have hearing problems, you should know how to recognize the symptoms and learn how to get help.

The statistics

Over 37 million people in the United States are deaf or hearing impaired, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD). To help put those statistics in perspective, consider how hearing loss affects different age groups. One in four people older than age 65 have from hearing loss. As people age, the hearing problems become more common—about half of those older than 75 are affected.

And not everyone with hearing loss develops it later in life. The NIDCD also reports that about two to three babies out of 1,000 are born with a noticeable hearing impairment, and that it affects almost 15 percent of those over 18.

“Children can either be born with hearing loss or can begin to have hearing problems when they grow older,” says Marin Allen, Chief of the Office of Health Communication and Public Liaison for NIDCD. “About 90 percent of children who are deaf are born to hearing parents.”

Causes of hearing loss

Just as hearing loss can affect a variety of people, it has a variety of causes. “Deafness or hearing impairment may be caused by genetic factors, noise or trauma, sensitivity to certain drugs or medications, and viral or bacterial infections,” Dr. Allen explains. “More than 300 inherited syndromes involve hearing impairment. Some hereditary hearing loss may be progressive or may appear later in childhood or adulthood as late-onset hearing impairment or deafness.” But, she points out, people can prevent noise-induced hearing loss by avoiding noises that are very loud, very close, or that continue for a long period of time. 

Effects of hearing loss

Hearing loss can have devastating effects on both children and adults. Children with even mild or moderate hearing impairment can miss as much as half of classroom discussion, the Alexander Graham Bell Association notes. The problem can impact speech and language development, educational progress, self-image, and psychological development.

In adults, hearing loss can prove frustrating, embarrassing, and even dangerous. It can make interacting with others difficult, cause stress and fatigue, and prevent people from hearing alarms, doorbells, warnings, doctor’s advice, and other important information.

Recognizing hearing loss in children

The NIDCD recommends that parents be aware of the signs that their baby is hearing normally, including:

  • Reacts to loud noises (birth to 3 months)
  • Babbles when excited or unhappy (4 to 6 months)
  • Imitates sounds and turns toward new sounds (7 to 12 months)
  • Has one or two words by first birthday
  • Uses two-word sentences to talk and follows simple directions (1 to 2 years)
  • Speaks in a way that is understood by family and friends (2 to 3 years)

The NIDCD and other hearing-related organizations publish more extensive hearing checklists for children online.

Recognizing hearing loss in adults

If you think you may be experiencing hearing loss, Dr. Allen suggests that you ask yourself a few simple questions:

  • Do you have trouble hearing over the telephone?
  • Do you have difficulty following a conversation in a group?
  • Do family members complain that you turn the volume up too loud on the television or radio?
  • Do you strain to understand conversations? 
  • Does it seem that people are mumbling when they speak to you?
  • Do you often ask people to repeat themselves?
  • Do you respond inappropriately to conversation?
  • Do you find it especially hard to hear women and children?
  • Do people become annoyed because you misunderstand them?
  • Do you have trouble hearing in a noisy background?

The importance of a professional screening

If you answered “yes” to at least three questions, see an audiologist (a health care professional who diagnoses and treats hearing disorders and balance problems) or otolaryngologist (a health care professional who specializes in treatment of patients with diseases and disorders of the ear, nose, and throat) for an evaluation. Professional organizations such as the American Academy of Audiology can provide you with a list of specialists in your area.

Parents of children with hearing problems should immediately consider communication options, Dr. Allen emphasizes. “The national goal is to screen all infants at birth in the newborn nursery or within the first month of life,” she says. “Then, the child needs to be tested and diagnosed within three months and interventions should begin by six months.”

Help for hearing problems

Although a specialist must help determine appropriate treatment for a person with hearing problems, assistive devices include:

  • Hearing aids. There are now many different types of hearing aids available. In fact, more than 95 percent of people with hearing impairment can benefit from hearing aids, according to the American Academy of Audiology.
  • Cochlear implants. These devices process speech and send sound signals to the brain.
  • Personal amplifiers and FM systems. These can help people with hearing problems function in conversation and public events.
  • Auditory training systems and loop systems. These devices can help eliminate or lessen background noises.

Other communications options include American Sign Language, cued speech, and signed English.

Resources

Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
www.agbell.org
 
American Academy of Audiology
www.audiology.org
 
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
www.nidcd.nih.gov

By Kristen Knight
Source: Your Baby's Hearing and Communicative Development Checklist, National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/hearing/pages/silence.aspx; NIH's Quick Statistics About Hearing, https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/statistics/quick-statistics-hearing.

The information provided on the Achieve Solutions site, including, but not limited to, articles, quizzes and other general information, is for informational purposes only and should not be treated as medical or health care advice. Nothing contained on the Achieve Solutions site is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or as a substitute for consultation with a qualified health care professional. Please direct questions regarding the operation of the Achieve Solutions site to Web Feedback. If you have concerns about your health, please contact your health care provider.  ©2017 Beacon Health Options, Inc.

 

Close

  • Useful Tools

    Select a tool below

© 2017 Beacon Health Options, Inc.