With advent of MP3 players, hearing loss a common problem in United States (letter) | VailDaily.com

With advent of MP3 players, hearing loss a common problem in United States (letter)

Vail Daily Letter to the Editor

Hearing loss affects more than 36 million Americans today. Although hearing problems are commonly associated with the normal aging process, more than half of all hearing-impaired persons are younger than 65. With the increased use of personal music players and earbuds, the number of Americans experiencing hearing loss at a younger age is growing.

On average, most Americans consider hearing loss a condition that is simply associated with aging and don't know how to recognize the condition or who is qualified to diagnose and treat the condition. In an effort to raise public awareness for the growing number of Americans suffering from hearing loss, the American Academy of Audiology has named May as Better Hearing Month.

Hearing loss can be caused by exposure to loud noises; ear infections, trauma or ear disease; harm to the inner ear and ear drum; illness or certain medications; and deterioration due to normal aging process. Hearing loss can affect patients of all ages — newborns, infants, babies, toddlers, children, teens, adults and the elderly.

You may have a problem with your hearing and need to see an audiologist if you have trouble hearing conversation in a noisy environment such as a restaurant, are unable to hear people talk to you without looking at them or have a constant ringing or pain in your ears.

Although most hearing loss is permanent, an audiologist can determine the best treatment, which may include hearing aids, assistive listening devices and hearing rehabilitation.

Dr. Daria Stakiw

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Board-certified audiologist, Rocky Mountain Audiology