Hearing loss has been linked to several conditions that appear as adults reach old age. Issues with impaired driving, dementia, and falls have all been associated with decreased hearing ability in older adults. In addition, there has even been evidence that a gradual loss of hearing over one’s lifetime can also put that person at increased risk of deteriorating social abilities, depression, an inability to communicate effectively and physical decline.
Current Studies on Hearing Loss
It may be surprising to learn that there have been very few studies presented that show the prevalence of hearing loss in the older population. Several studies have been conducted which show the negative outcomes that can occur as a result of hearing difficulties, but little research has been presented on how many older individuals are actually affected by hearing low. Especially in the cases of adults age seventy and older, finding out how many people are affected nationwide could bring attention to the need for more hearing services as well as the need for more research into the treatment of hearing loss.
How the Study Was Conducted
Several hundred participants from larger studies of hearing loss were tested for hearing and also surveyed on their noise exposure history and medical history. In addition, demographic information such as ethnicity, age, socioeconomic status and hearing aid usage was collected. All of this information was then applied to statistical calculations to find out just how prevalent hearing loss is in the general population of patients ages seventy and older.
Hearing Loss Prevalence Research Results
Depending on the factors that are used to define hearing loss, the results of this study varied widely. Using the World Health Organization definition of hearing loss, which incorporates a number of hearing-related measures, hearing loss prevalence in patients seventy and older, is over 60%. This is a staggering number considering the implications that hearing loss has on individuals of all age groups.
What to Do if You Are Experiencing Hearing Loss
If you are noticing an increase in the amount of times that you need people to repeat what has been said, or are having a difficult time following a conversation, consider visiting a licensed health care provider that specializes in hearing health. Audiologists and hearing instrument specialists are also available to assess hearing health offer treatment options, such as hearing aids or other assistive devices.
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