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RECOGNIZING THE SIGNS OF HEARING LOSS

The past few decades have seen the world grow continuously noisier and louder, and subsequently, hearing loss and hearing difficulties as a result of noise have been on the rise. In fact, hearing loss is now the third most prevalent chronic physical condition in the United States, twice as common as diabetes and cancer. Despite hearing loss being often thought of as a symptom of growing old, according to the CDC, nearly one in four adults between the ages of 20 and 69 show signs of hearing loss (as a result of noise). In addition to the communication problems and sensory limitations it can cause, hearing loss has been tied with other health issues like dementia and depression caused by social isolation.

A group of people dining together

What causes hearing loss?

While genetic defects, injury, and illness can also cause hearing loss, hearing loss from noise is more common and occurs when you are exposed to sounds over 85 decibels repeatedly or for an extended period of time. In these instances, the tiny hair-like cells in your ear which send audio signals to the brain are damaged. This is known as sensorineural hearing loss, and unfortunately, once these cells are damaged, they can never be repaired. In other words, the ears you’re born with are the only ears you get. Some common loud sounds that can cause sensorineural hearing loss include loud music and concerts, power tools, sporting events, and firecrackers.

Tiny hair-like cells in the ear canal send audio signals to the brain. When they are damaged by repeated or prolonged exposure to loud noise, they can never be repaired.

Approximately 24% of Americans between 20 – 69 have hearing loss due to exposure to sound

How to tell when you have impaired hearing

For most people, hearing loss is gradual, making it difficult to discern. It’s estimated that, on average, people will experience hearing loss for seven to ten years before treating it.

So how do you recognize that you or someone you love has hearing loss? Some common signs of hearing loss include:

Having difficulty hearing and following conversations

Having trouble hearing in noisy environments

Needing to turn the television volume up excessively

Asking others to repeat themselves

People sound like they’re mumbling

If you’ve experienced any of the above and suspect you may have hearing loss, an online hearing test* is a good place to start. While online screeners are not diagnostic tests, they can help you understand more about your hearing.

* Headphones are required for this experience.

A group of people meeting in a restaurant
A man wearing Bose SoundControl Hearing Aids watching TV with his family

Treating hearing loss

Unfortunately, it’s not possible to repair hearing loss caused by excessive noise. Instead, the most common practice for treating hearing loss is with hearing aids. In the past, hearing aids were only available via consultation with a hearing health professional and a subsequent prescription, a process costing thousands of dollars and rarely covered by health insurance.

But now hearing aids are also available direct-to-consumer online and in retail stores. They are more accessible and more affordable for people who want a convenient option that puts them in control of their hearing.

Bose SoundControl™ Hearing Aids were the first FDA-cleared direct-to-consumer self-fit hearing aids. Consumers can purchase, fit, and tune SoundControl™ Hearing Aids all on their own without the help of a hearing professional. An excellent affordable option for treating mild to moderate hearing loss, they pair with the Bose Hear app, a mobile app that allows you to self-tune using clinically proven audiologist-quality customization. Bose SoundControl™ Hearing Aids let you enjoy improved hearing, total control, and the freedom to make the most of every moment.

A woman adjusting her Bose SoundControl Hearing Aid
Woman adjusting the World Volume of her SoundControl Heading Aids from her smartphone

Watch the video below to learn more about noise's effects on hearing loss

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