Many Signs Go Unnoticed

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There are many causes of hearing loss, including:

  • heredity
  • accidents
  • diseases (such as measles, mumps, and spinal meningitis)
  • drugs
  • noise
  • aging

If you recognized your hearing loss when you were fifty-five or older, the most probable cause was age-related hearing loss are due to unknown causes.

Some of the known causes are explained below:

Heredity

A large proportion of hearing loss that occurs at birth or in the first few years of life is hereditary. Many types of adult-onset and progressive hearing loss are also hereditary.

A hereditary (genetic) hearing loss is something easy to identify from family history; a parent or a sibling also may have a loss.

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Partially deaf daughter caring for hearing impaired parent

In some families, however, the gene that causes hearing loss is recessive, which means the hearing loss may be passed on by parents, even if they themselves do not have a hearing loss.

Accidents

Automobile and work-related accidents can result in head injuries. These injuries, in turn, can cause a dramatic hearing loss. It is usually sudden and traumatic.

Disease

Diseases such as measles, mumps, and spinal meningitis that are accompanied by high fever have been the cause of hearing loss in many people.

These diseases can have indirect consequences as well. For example, when a pregnant woman contracts or is exposed to German measles during the first trimester of pregnancy, there is an increased risk that her child will be born with a hearing loss.

The rubella (German measles) epidemic of the mid-1960’s caused a significant increase inthe number of deaf and hard of hearing people. Since then, vaccinations have greatly reduced the occurrence of these diseases.

Drugs

Some drugs prescribed for medical problems are ototoxic, meaning they have the potential to cause damage to the inner ear, which may result in temporary or permanent hearing loss.

If you have a hearing loss, ask your doctor about the medications prescribed for you so that you can prevent an aggravation of your hearing problem.

Noise

Prolonged exposure to loud noise at or above 90 decibels can damage the sensitive hair cells lining the cochlea. This may cause partial or severe hearing loss.

Occupational noise exposure, the most common form of noise-induced hearing loss, threatens the hearing of firefighters, police officers, military personnel, pilots, construction and factory workers, musicians, farmers, and truck drivers, to name a few.

Non-occupational sources of hazardous noise such as live or recorded high volume music, recreational vehicles, airplanes, lawn-care equipment, woodworking tools, household appliances such as mixers, blenders, and vacuum cleaners; and chain saws also cause hearing loss.

Because no medical or surgical treatment can correct a hearing loss resulting from noise exposure, prevention is so important.

Aging

Presbycusis is the term used to describe the slow, progressive type of hearing loss that is associated with aging.

At age sixty-five, one out of every three people has a hearing loss.

How Signs Of Hearing Loss Can Affect Lives
Elderly couple suffering from hearing loss

Age-related hearing loss often is due to a lifetime of exposure to dangerous levels of noise or to hereditary adult-onset hearing loss.

Audiologist use both formal and informal test to determine a person’s ability to hear and understand. Also, being at home a doorbell will help you ‘zero in’ on loud sounds.

Although these test usually measure hearing abilities, the audiologist may also test skills at interpreting gestures and facial expressions.

The audiologist routinely test three aspects of hearing: the degree of hearing ability, the kind of hearing loss (if any) and the ability to understand speech under different conditions.

An audiologist needs a bachelor’s degree in speech language pathology or a related field, a master’s degree in audiology and a certificate of clinical competence in order to practice independently. Some states also require a license

Some Statewide Services

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ALABAMA

Department of Rehabilitation Services, 2129 East South Blvd. PO. Box 11586, Montgomery AL, 36111-0586, (334) 281-8780 (v) (334) 613-2249 (TDD) (800) 4417607 V/TTY in AL   http://www.rehab.state.al.us

ALASKA

Alaska Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, 801 West 10th St, Suite 200, Juneau AK 99801-1894 (907) 465-2814 V/TTY: (800) 478-2815 in AK  http://edu.state.ak.us/vocrehab/home.html

ARIZONA

Arizona Council for the Hearing impaired, 1400 West Washington St. Rm. 126, Phoenix AZ 85007 (602) 542-3323 V/TTY: (800) 352-8161 V/TTY  http://www.stae.az.us/achi

Communication Disorders Office Rehabilitation Services Administration, 1789 West Jefferson, 2nd Floor NW Phoenix AZ, (602) 542-3332 v;  (602) 542-6049 TTY

ARKANSAS

Arkansas Rehabilitation Services, Office of the Deaf and Wearing Impaired, 1616 Brookwood, PO. Box 3781, Little Rock AR, 72203, (501) 296-1892 V; (501) 296-1894 TTY  http://www.state.ar.us/ars/odhi.html

CALIFORNIA

State Office of Deaf Access, Dept. of Social Services, 744 P St. MS 19-91, Sacramento, CA 95814, (916) 229-4573 (v): (916) 229-4577 (TDD)

Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Services, Dept. of Rehabilitation, 830 K St. Mall, Rm. 209, Sacramento CA 95814 (916) 322-3076 (v): (916) 445-3031 (TDD)

COLORADO

Colorado Vocational Rehabilitation Services, 600 Grant St., Suite 302, Denver CO 80203, TTY (303) 894-2515 x222, (303) 937-0561 V/TTY

CONNECTICUT

Connecticut Commission on the Deaf and Hearing Impaired, 1245 Farmington Ave. West Hartford CT, 06107, (860) 561-0196 V/TTY

Bureau of Rehabilitation Services, 10 Griffin Road North, Windor CT 06095 (860) 298-2018 V/TTY: (800) 537-2549 V/TTY in CT

DELAWARE

Delaware Office for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Dept. of Labor Building, 4425 North Market St, 3rd fl. PO. Box 9969, Wilmington, DE 19809-0969, (302) 761-8286 V/TTY

Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Dept. of Labor Building, 4425 North Market St. 3rd Floor, PO. Box 9969, Wilmington DE, 19806-0969, (302) 761-8275 (v): (302) 761-8336 (TDD)

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

Rehabilitation Services Administration, 800 9th St. SW. 4th fl, Washington DC 20024 (202) 645-5731 (V/TDD) http://www.ed.gov/offices/OSERS/RSA/rsa.html

FLORIDA

Deaf & Hard of Hearing Services Program, Div. of Vocational Rehabilitation, 2002 Old St. Augustine Road, Building A, Tallahassee FL 32399-0696 (904) 488-2867 (v/TDD)

GEORGIA

Georgia Dept. of Human Resources, Div. of Rehabilitation Services, 2 Peachtree St. NW 35-414, Atlanta GA, 30303-3166 (404) 637-3000 (v/TDD) http://www2.state.ga.us/Dept./DHR/

HAWAII

Hawaii State Coordinating Council on Deafness, 919 Ala Moana Blvd. Rm 101, Honolulu HI 96814, (808) 586-8130 (v/TDD); (808) 586-8130 http://www.hawaii.gov/health/cpd_indx.htm

Div. of Vocational Rehabilitation, Dept. of Human Serv. 1000 Bishop St. Rm 605, Honolulu HI, 96813 (808) 586-5373 (v/TDD)

IDAHO

Idaho Council for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing, 1700 Westgate Dr Boise ID, 83704 (208) 334-0879 (v); (208) 334-0803 (TDD) (800) 433-1323 V in ID, (800) 433-1361 TTY in ID http://www.2state.id.us/cdhh/cdhh1.htm

Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, 245 3rd Ave. N, Two Falls ID, 83301 (208) 736-2156 (V/TDD) http://www2state.id.us/idvr/idvrhome.htm

ILLINOIS

Div. of Services for Persons who are Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing, Dept. of Rehabilitation Services, 100 West Randolph St. Suite 8-100, Chicago IL, 60601, (312) 814-2939 (V); (312) 814-3040 (TDD) http://www.dors. state.il.us/programs/dsdhh.htm

INDIANA

Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services, Div. of Disability, Aging and Rehabilitative Services, 402 w. Washington St Room W-453, PO Box 7083 Indianapolis IN 46207-7083 (317) 232-1143 (V/TDD) (800)962-8408 (V/TDD in IN)

Division of Disability, Aging and Rehabilitative Services, Vocational Rehabilitation Services, 402 w. Washington St Room W-453, PO Box 7083 Indianapolis IN 46207-7083 (317) 232-1427 (V/TDD)

IOWA

Deaf Services Commission of Iowa, Iowa Dept.of Human Rights, Lucas State Office Building, Des Moines IA, 50319-0090 (515) 281-3164 (V/TDD) http://state.ia.us/government/dhr/#deaf

Div. of Vocational Rehabilitation Services, 510 East 12th St. Des Moines IA 50319 (515) 281-4151 (V); (800) 532-1485 (V/TDD)

KANSAS

Kansas Commission for the Deaf and the Hard-of-Hearing, 3640 South Topeka Boulevard, Suite 100 Topeka, KS 66611, (785) 267-5301 (V); (785) 267-5352 (TDD)

KENTUCKY

Kentucky Commission for the Deaf and the Hard-of-Hearing, 632 Versailles Road, Frankfort Ky, 40601 (502) 573-2604 (v/TDD): (800) 372-2907 V/TDD in KY

http://www.ihdi.uky.edu/projects/dvr/dvrhome.htm

LOUISIANA

Louisiana Commission for the Deaf, 8225 Florida Boulevard, Baton Rouge LA, 70806, (504) 925-4175 Voice (800) 256-1523 (V) (800) 543-2099 http://www.dss.state.la.us/html/lrs/html

MAINE

Division of Deafness Bureau of Rehabilitation Services, 35 Anthony Ave, Augusta ME 04333-0150, State Coordinator: Alice C. Johnson, (207) 624-5315 (V); 624-5322 (TDD): (800) 332-1003 V/TDD in ME

Understanding Growth In Youth

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You Must Understand That As A Child Grows And Mature In Life, It May Be Difficult For Them To Remember The First Time They Realized They Couldn’t Hear.

Unless born with the disability at birth, most hearing loss occurs gradually. Your child could possibly hear some people and have difficulties hearing others. They could hear in some situations and have difficulties in others. The same thing occurs in adults.

Usually, a friend or family member is often the first person to notice that someone is losing their hearing. You would also be surprised to know that their are helpful tool that can accommodate the hearing impaired. In adults, these are the warning signs of early hearing loss…

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Hearing impaired grandfather with grandson

1) You hear but cannot understand

2)  You ask people to repeat what they said or respond inappropriately to questions

3)  You have difficulty understanding in restaurants, the car, and other noisy environments where several people are talking at the same time

4) You have difficulty hearing at the movies or in the theater

5) You have difficulty understanding in group or social situations

6)  You can’t understand your grandchildren or other young children

7)  You hear better in one ear than in the other when you are on your cell 

8)  You have dizziness pain or ringing in your ears

9)  You turn up the television and radio volume louder than other people like

10)  You have difficulty understanding speech if you can’t see the speakers face

11)  You turn your head to one side to hear what is said

In addition to observing the above signs, your family may notice the following:

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Old woman with dementia and hearing loss

* You Have A Blank Expression on Your Face

* You Speak To Loudly Or Too Softly

* You Can’t Understand What Is Being Said When Someone Speaks To You From Another    Room

* You Avoid Social Situations

* You Tune Out Or Fall Asleep At Group Gatherings

DENIAL: 

The average delay between the onset of hearing loss and seeking a professional diagnosis is five to seven years. One reason for this delay is not noticing  the change in hearing in the early stages of acquired hearing loss.

A More Prevalent Reason Is Failing To Admit There Is A Problem Or Avoiding The Problem.

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If you are in the denial stage, you may try to hide the loss because you perceive it as a sign of carrying the stigma of a disability. You also may try and hide your hearing loss when in denial. You do this because you perceive this as a sign of aging or carry the stigma of a disability.

You also may hide your hearing loss by not participating in conversations, by smiling when everyone else is doing so, and by bluffing in other ways.

Denial is exacerbated by the fact that in some situations you can hear and in others you cannot, so you waver between acceptance and denial of the need for a hearing test.

The hearing loss is often obvious to your family members and friends; however, if you are like most hard of hearing people, at first you may blame your problem on others.

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Mother with daughter suffering from a hearing disability

IT DOESN’T HURT:

Since hearing loss is usually free of physical pain, people who are hard of hearing tend to put off dealing with it, especially if they are also experiencing other physical problems such as arthritis and heart disease.

Although, physically painless, hearing loss can cause you emotional pain since it can make you feel socially inept, isolated, embarrassed, even depressed.

Poor hearing disrupts  communication and can lead to unhappiness.

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Family and friends, who try to communicate with you, will find themselves getting frustrated. It also can cause pain for family members who get angry when they cannot communicate, wondering if you understood them.

GETTING HELP; MAKE IT A PRIORITY:

If listening situations are causing you to strain, tune out, or feel fatigued and irritable, it may be time to admit you have a hearing loss. Seeing a hearing healthcare specialist to determine what the problem is should be the next step.

Some hearing losses may be medically or surgically correctable; most can be helped by wearing a hearing aid.

Much Information Is Available When You Decide That Doing Something About Your Hearing Loss Is Your TOP PRIORITY!!

Maintaining good communication with your family and friends is vital to remaining happy, healthy, and in control of your life. It is especially important for older people. You owe it to yourself to have the best quality of life possible.

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Woman with hearing loss at pet shop

Individuals suffering from a serious hearing loss always struggle with volume and distortion. In other words you can hear, but you can not understand. Hearing loss has to overcome two parts; loudness and clarity…

LOUDNESS.

A person with a loudness problem usually will find it much easier to understand speech if sounds are made loud enough; some sounds, however, may never be loud enough to be heard.

CLARITY.

The person with a clarity problem finds sounds are unclear or cannot be understood at all even when amplified. Most hard of hearing people experience problems with both loudness and clarity.

FREQUENCY.

Frequency (pitch), which is important for understanding speech, is measured in hertz (Hz). You may have trouble hearing consonants like s, f, and th,  but still be able to hear low-frequency sounds such as ah, oo and m.

This is because hearing loss for older people is usually greater in the higher frequencies.

How Your Hearing Loss Affects Your Family And Friends.

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Think about the many activities you enjoy with your family and friends  and what it would be like to feel left out. Holiday gatherings, where everyone is talking  at the same time, can become a frustrating  and sad experience for you.

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Aunt with partial hearing loss and her niece

While others are enjoying conversing with one another, you are missing out. You want to hear what your family members and others are talking about but cannot understand them and may have even more difficulty understanding what your grandchildren are saying.

You also may have curtailed other family activities, including movies, watching television, playing cards, and eating out, which once were enjoyable family times, because you don’t hear as well as you once did.