It used to be that people ages 65 and older were the most likely to need hearing aids, but times are changing. Baby boomers, like Rush Limbaugh and former President Clinton, are two examples of a younger crowd threatened by hearing loss today.
The Department of Health and Human Services reports that more than 25 million Americans have hearing loss, but just one out of four of those are older than 65.
There are many culprits that can be blamed on hearing trouble: infections, strokes, head injuries, tumors, or other medical problems, some medications, even too much ear wax, and repeated exposure to loud noises like music, power tools, or jet engines.
Dr. Mark Moser is just 45, but like millions of others, he's come to realize that he needs a hearing aid to hear his office staff.
"For a few months I was fighting more and more with my wife. She was telling me I wasn't listening to her when she was talking, and I didn't notice. It dawned on me it may be something more than my being pre-occupied," says Dr. Moser.
"I think the lifestyles have changed where louder music, louder noise, construction, a growing country, and different environmental factors. Certain different advances in the medical field are also being exposed where medications can cause hearing loss," says Dr. Curtis Emmer, ear, nose and throat specialist.
The Food and Drug Administration says that you might need a hearing aid if:
If you have any of these symptoms, see your doctor or hearing health-care professional because the good news is that for most people with hearing loss, the problem can be fixed. Dr. Moser had a selection of hearing aids to choose from. Compact and high tech, they work with a tiny computer chip, digitally programmed.
"With the hearing aids in a quiet room, it's fine. Without the hearing aids, I can hardly carry on a conversation," he says.
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