Hearing Loss in Adults

Hearing loss is a sudden or gradual decrease in how well you can hear. It is more common than you might think, with an estimated 48 million Americans experiencing hearing loss. Having trouble hearing can make it hard to do normal everyday tasks. It can also make it hard to enjoy talking with friends and family. All of this can be frustrating, embarrassing, and even dangerous.

Typically hearing loss happens gradually with age, but sometimes it is due to damage from loud noises, illnesses, or hereditary reasons. Most hearing loss is mild and treatable.

You may have a hearing problem if you answer “yes” to three or more of these questions:

  • Do you sometimes feel embarrassed when you meet new people because you struggle to hear them?
  • Do you feel frustrated when talking to members of your family because you have difficulty hearing them?
  • Do you have difficulty hearing when someone speaks in a whisper?
  • Do you feel restricted or limited by a hearing problem?
  • Do you often turn the TV or radio volume up louder when others are hearing it at a normal level?
  • Do you have trouble hearing family or friends when you are together in a restaurant or other noisy setting?

Adapted from Ventry I.M. & Weinstein, B.E. (1982). The hearing handicap inventory for the elderly: A new tool. Ear Hear 3(3),128–134.

If you answered yes to any of the questions above, you may want to have your hearing checked.

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