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5.28.13

Hearing Loss

Hearing loss has doubled in the U.S. during the past 30 years and many people live with hearing loss without being diagnosed.

About 30 million Americans suffer from hearing loss, which affects individuals of all ages from birth to the senior years.  Hearing loss can be caused by a number of factors, says Brittney Reidy, pediatric audiologist at SIU School of Medicine in Springfield.  She explains some of the causes of hearing loss.

“Several different factors are potential causes of hearing loss such as genetics. There are genetic disorders that have hearing loss associated with them. Trauma or accidents can cause hearing loss, noise exposure as I just briefly mentioned, and age.

Reidy says hearing loss in children affects their speech and language development and education.  In adults, hearing loss that goes untreated results in emotional and social issues including depression, withdrawal from social activities, and insecurity.   She offers some treatment options.

“Most of the time it is with hearing aids or cochlear implants depending on the amount of loss. There are two types of hearing loss: conductive which is in the outer part of our ears, which can sometimes be treated medically.  Sometimes there can be medical intervention, but there are so many hearing aid use.  And the other type of loss is sensory neural.  And that is in our inner ear or somewhere up the nerve to our brain.”

If you or someone you know is having trouble hearing, ask your primary care physician about getting a hearing test.  He may refer you to an audiologist for an evaluation and possible treatment.

Ruth Slottag