Things to know about a hearing loss

  • Hearing loss is a major public health issue that is the third most common physical condition after arthritis and heart disease.
  • Gradual hearing loss can affect people of all ages -- varying from mild to profound. Hearing loss is a sudden or gradual decrease in how well you can hear. Depending on the cause, it can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent.
  • Degrees of hearing loss: mild, moderate, severe, profound.
  • Congenital hearing loss means you are born without hearing, while gradual hearing loss happens over time.
  • Hearing loss is an invisible condition; we cannot see hearing loss, only its effects. Because the presence of a hearing loss is not visible, these effects may be attributed to aloofness, confusion, or personality changes.
  • In adults, the most common causes of hearing loss are noise and aging. There is a strong relationship between age and reported hearing loss.
  • In age-related hearing loss, known as presbycusis, changes in the inner ear that happen as you get older cause a slow but steady hearing loss. The loss may be mild or severe, and it is always permanent.
  • In older people, a hearing loss is often confused with, or complicates, such conditions as dementia.
  • Noise-induced hearing loss may happen slowly over time or suddenly. Being exposed to everyday noises, such as listening to very loud music, being in a noisy work environment, or using a lawn mower, can lead to hearing loss over many years.
  • Sudden, noise-induced hearing loss from gunfire and explosions is the number one disability caused by combat in current wars.
  • More often than not severe tinnitus (or ringing in the ears) will accompany the hearing loss and may be just as debilitating as the hearing loss itself.
  • Other causes of hearing loss include earwax buildup, an object in the ear, injury to the ear or head, ear infection, a ruptured eardrum, and other conditions that affect the middle or inner ear.

Source: "Basic Facts About Hearing Loss | Hearing Loss Association of America." HLAA Updates. Web. 16 May 2016.