Hearing loss affects approximately 28 million people in the United States (about 1 out of 10 individuals). Hearing loss among seniors is the third most common treatable health problem in the United States, behind arthritis and hypertension. Untreated hearing loss can lead to withdrawal from social occasions, loneliness and depression. It can affect alertness and increase risk to personal safety and recent research shows a possible link between hearing loss and memory loss in older adults.
Among children (under age 18) in the U.S., 15% have some degree of hearing loss. Hearing is critical for the development of speech, language, communication skills, and learning. The earlier a hearing loss is identified and managed, the less serious the long-term effects. Among children, hearing problems may cause problems with speech and language development, emotional difficulties and low self-esteem, and learning and behavior problems in school. Signs to look for include delayed development of spoken language or vocabulary skills, turning TV or radio very loudly to hear, often asking “Huh?”, or difficulty focusing in school.
Hearing loss can be categorized by which part of the auditory (hearing) system is damaged. The type and degree of loss will be determined by an audiologist. The office of Drs. Hansbrough, Peters, Traxler & Scallan has two Clinical Audiologists on staff-- Amanda McCann Holland, Au.D., CCC-A and Kelley Ainsworth Powell, MCD, CCC-A. If the results of an audiological evaluation reveal a medical cause or complication of hearing loss (e.g. current middle ear infection, mastoiditis, otosclorosis, etc.) one of the physicians in the practice is consulted. He or she is able to address the matter from a medical standpoint and inform the patient of all possible interventions including medication or surgery. If a hearing evaluation indicated that the condition cannot be medically or surgically treated, additional testing may be done to determine whether hearing aids will be beneficial.
If you suspect you or your child may have a hearing loss, contact The Hearing Center at 225.408.6734.