Can you Hear me now?: March 26, 2017
Studies show nearly 48 million Americans report some degree of hearing loss. By age 65, one out of three people is diagnosed with hearing loss.
Dr. Alim Karim, a resident physician with Lee Health, says as we age certain sounds may become difficult to hear. “Higher frequencies are basically where we tend to lose most of our hearing and once you get past 60 you lose a decimal or so every year.”
Patients between the ages of 50 and 60 years old should have their hearing tested. “That’s when things, hearing especially, hearing loss starts to develop more and becomes more noticeable,” said Dr. Karim.
Even though hearing loss commonly happens with age, doctors say there are some genetic components that can put you at risk for having hearing loss. Doctors can check a patient’s hearing through a series of office tests. “One is the whispering test where we whisper behind them to see if they can hear us and then we do an audioscopy which is basically testing certain frequencies,” said Dr. Karim.
It’s important patients don’t ignore the problem. “Probably the biggest misconception we hear is hearing loss is normal. Hearing will decrease as you get older but there’s a misconception that not much can be done about it and people don’t want that stigma of having to wear a hearing aid,” said Dr. Karim.
But no treatment at all can lead to other health concerns. “The big thing is it really does have an impact on your quality of life. Hearing is a big part of communication. If you can’t hear it certainly affects your cognitive abilities. It can lead to depression because people feel like they’re not included in everything,” said Dr. Karim.
It’s important to avoid loud noises and have your hearing tested as you get older.