Have you ever noticed that as parents get older, it seems like their hearing just isn't what it used to be?
🙁 The volume on the TV keeps getting louder and louder at home.
🙁 Conversations with them often get interrupted halfway through.
🙁 You have to repeat things several times for them to hear clearly...
Maybe parents aren't fully aware of the severity of the issue and just brush it off as "getting a bit hard of hearing." But as their children, we can be more proactive in noticing these changes and ensuring they seek medical attention when necessary.
As people age, do their ears really "go deaf"?
What we often refer to as "hard of hearing" or "deafness" is actually hearing loss. While it affects people of all ages, older parents tend to be more susceptible to hearing loss as they age.
Epidemiological surveys show that the prevalence of hearing loss in middle-aged and elderly populations increases with age:
- Among individuals aged 55-64, the prevalence of hearing loss is 25%.
- This increases to 43% among those aged 65-84.
- By the age of 75, over half of the elderly population is affected by hearing loss.
Long-term hearing loss can have serious consequences on an individual's physical and mental health, being a significant risk factor for depression, pessimism, loneliness, and cognitive impairments.
Why do people become "hard of hearing"?
The anatomy of the ear is divided into three parts: the outer ear, middle ear, and inner ear.
When sound waves from external sources enter the ear canal, they travel inward through the outer and middle ear to the inner ear, where they are transmitted to the brain via the auditory nerve, eventually forming the complex sounds we perceive.
What should you do if you notice hearing loss?
If hearing loss is caused by issues in the outer or middle ear, appropriate treatment addressing the underlying cause can often lead to significant improvement or even normalization of hearing.
However, some types of hearing loss, such as age-related, noise-induced, or autoimmune-related, may not respond satisfactorily to medical interventions, leaving patients to accept the reality of their hearing loss.
In 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) released the latest grading standards for hearing loss, categorizing it into seven levels.
Generally, if hearing loss in both ears reaches a moderate level where sounds below 40 dB are barely audible, it can significantly impact daily communication, prompting clinical assessment and recommendation for hearing aids.
How do you choose the right hearing aid?
Hearing aids are amplification devices that help individuals with hearing loss effectively perceive sound, aiding specific populations in better auditory reception.
As extensions of the ears, hearing aids require significant personalization, but they share two basic requirements: clarity of sound and comfortable wear.
This necessitates focusing on the following four points when selecting hearing aids:
- Sound amplification: Refers to the degree of sound amplification. Hearing aids typically have a "maximum gain" marked, representing the upper limit of amplification. Patients can choose an appropriate gain based on the extent of their hearing loss.
- Processing channels: The more adjustable channels available (especially within the same brand), the more realistic and nuanced the sound heard. Typically, 6-8 channels suffice for basic needs.
- Sound delay: Longer sound delay leads to sound quality alterations and distortion perception. When delay exceeds 10 milliseconds, it becomes perceptible to the human ear. Therefore, shorter delay times indicated on product labels are preferred.
- Bilateral hearing: For individuals with hearing loss in both ears, unless there is significant asymmetry, it is generally advisable to wear hearing aids in both ears, yielding greater benefits compared to unilateral wear.
Moreover, hearing aids equipped with noise cancellation, wind noise suppression, feedback avoidance, and the ability to assess the environment and automatically determine optimal auditory conditions offer enhanced functionality and more comfortable wear.
Although hearing aids benefit the hearing-impaired population, less than half of them opt for it, with even lower usage rates among middle-aged and elderly populations.
According to data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) in the United States, only 1/7 of individuals aged 50 and above with hearing impairments use hearing aids. The main reasons for this are often subpar hearing aid performance and discomfort during wear.
If you or your loved ones are experiencing hearing difficulties, consider exploring Chosgo Hearing Aids, including the SmartU Rechargeable Hearing Aids and CIC Rechargeable Hearing Aids, designed to enhance your hearing experience.