Saturday, August 4, 2012

Guest Post - Hearing Loss

A blog reader, John O'Connor recently emailed me and asked if I would be interested in posting an article that he had written about hearing loss. This article really resonated with me because as a parent of a child with moderate to severe hearing loss, I am now aware of how precious and important hearing is to our daily lives. We as a society take our own hearing for granted, we assume it is always going to remain the same. Thank you John for sharing your article.

Hearing Loss and Your Health

One of the most widely overlooked aspects of a person’s health is their hearing. Every year, people have annual physicals, their vision checked and visit the dentist, but having one’s hearing checked is done very little in comparison. Hearing loss is commonly seen as being an issue that only affects senior citizens, although this is a huge misconception. In reality, anyone, from very young children to the elderly, can suffer hearing loss. According to NIH Senior Health, approximately 36 million American adults claim they have some hearing loss and that the problem is more common in men than in women.

Hearing loss can occur for a variety of reasons. While some instances are inherited genetically, many more are due to an exposure to noise. Referred to by the acronym NIHL, noise induced hearing loss is something that is completely preventable and typically affects individuals who have jobs that involve constant noise, such as construction workers, those who travel regularly by public transportation mode the subway and people who attend concerts or other loud events without protecting their hearing. A pair of earplugs that are made from wax, foam or even those that are made at an audiologist’s office that are specially molded to one’s ears are excellent for protecting hearing.

While they can only reduce noise by between 15 to 25 decibels, earplugs are effective.  Other health issues can come about as a result of hearing loss. The most common is tinnitus, which is essentially a high pitched ringing or hissing in the ears that is most noticeable when the person is in a quiet situation such as going to bed. Tinnitus cannot be cured and cases range from relatively mild to sometimes sever. 

When hearing loss is enough of a problem to affect an individual’s everyday life, it is a good idea to make an appointment with an audiologist and consider possible treatments such as getting a hearing aid. Today hearing aids are smaller than ever with the progression of technology so that they can be inserted into the ear without anyone even noticing. Getting a hearing aid when it is needed can help a person recapture some of the hearing they once had.

About the author: My name is John O'Connor, over the past few years I have become more and more interested in hearing loss. My father and grandfathers along with many other family members and friends are affected by hearing loss. I feel that there is a general lack of understanding around the issue and it is right to try and spread awareness where we can. My new blog can be found at, check it out!

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