Hearing Loss and Aging

About one-third of Americans between the ages of 65 and 74 have hearing problems. About half the people who are 85 and older have hearing loss. Whether a hearing loss is small (missing certain sounds) or large (being profoundly deaf), it is a serious concern. If left untreated, problems can get worse.

Hearing loss can affect your life in many ways. You may miss out on talks with friends and family. On the telephone, you may find it hard to hear what the caller is saying. At the doctor's office, you may not catch the doctor's words.

Sometimes hearing problems can make you feel embarrassed, upset, and lonely. It's easy to withdraw when you can't follow a conversation at the dinner table or in a restaurant. It's also easy for friends and family to think you are confused, uncaring, or difficult, when the problem may be that you just can't hear well.

If you have trouble hearing, there is help. Start by seeing your doctor. Depending on the type and extent of your hearing loss, there are many treatment choices that may help. Hearing loss does not have to get in the way of your ability to enjoy life.

How Do I Know if I Have a Hearing Loss?

See your doctor if you:

  • Have trouble hearing over the telephone,
  • Find it hard to follow conversations when two or more people are talking,
  • Need to turn up the TV volume so loud that others complain,
  • Have a problem hearing because of background noise,
  • Sense that others seem to mumble, or
  • Can't understand when women and children speak to you.