What is hearing loss?
Hearing loss is a common problem caused by noise, aging, disease, and heredity. Hearing is a complex sense involving both the ear’s ability to detect sounds and the brain’s ability to interpret those sounds, including the sounds of speech. Factors that determine how much hearing loss will negatively affect a person’s quality of life include
- the degree of the hearing loss
- the pattern of hearing loss across different frequencies (pitches)
- whether one or both ears is affected
- the areas of the auditory system that are not working normally—such as the middle ear, inner ear, neural pathways, or brain
- the ability to recognize speech sounds
- the history of exposures to loud noise and environmental or drug-related toxins that are harmful to hearing
A Common Problem in Older Adults
Hearing loss is one of the most common conditions affecting older adults. Approximately 17 percent, or 36 million, of American adults report some degree of hearing loss.
There is a strong relationship between age and reported hearing loss: 18 percent of American adults 45-64 years old, 30 percent of adults 65-74 years old, and 47 percent of adults 75 years old, or older, have a hearing impairment.
Men are more likely to experience hearing loss than women.
People with hearing loss may find it hard to have a conversation with friends and family. They may also have trouble understanding a doctor’s advice, responding to warnings, and hearing doorbells and alarms.
The (www.hlaa-pa.org) Hearing Loss Association of Pennsylvania State Office (www.hla-pa.org) has information resources that may be helpful for you if you are experiencing hearing loss. Send an email for more information:
Nancy Kingsley – State Director
Carolyn Meyer – Outreach Chair
There are local chapters, too.
- Lancaster County – Meets on the third TUESDAY of the month, 10:00 – 11:30 a.m., in the months of March, April, May, and September, October, and November. Brethren Village Retirement Center
- Lebanon County – HLAA Lebanon County, a support group for hard of hearing people,meets the 4th Tuesday of each month (except July, August and December) at 7:00 p.m.,in Freeman Auditorium, Cornwall Manor, Cornwall, Pa.