According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, roughly 48 million Americans have hearing loss. While the condition isn’t limited to the aging population, that number is growing as more and more Baby Boomers enter into late adulthood. Accompanying this milestone in life is often the beginning of hearing loss. While the issue isn’t synonymous with old age, statistics show an increased likelihood of developing hearing loss as you get older.

Hearing loss statistics

In fact, the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders reports that age is the strongest predictor of hearing loss among adults age 20 through 69, with the greatest amount of hearing loss occurring in the 60 to 69 years old age group. For example, for adults age 45 to 54, just two percent have disabling hearing loss; that percentage jumps to eight percent for adults 55- 64, 25 percent for adults age 65-74 and 50 percent for adults 75 years and older.

Visiting an audiologist

As such, many adults will likely visit an audiologist in his or her lifetime. An audiologist is a hearing healthcare professional who has dedicated their career to the assessment, treatment and management of hearing loss, balance and other auditory disorders. Through years of education and certification, an audiologist learns how to use examination tools and techniques, determines the type and degree of hearing loss and provides a long-term treatment plan for the management of hearing loss.

What an audiologist can do for you

Through the use of audiometers, computers and other devices, an audiologist tests a patient’s hearing ability and balance. From the results of those tests, they determine the type and degree of hearing loss, often identifying the underlying cause. In addition, audiologists:

  • Examine patients with hearing, balance or other auditory issues
  • Assess results of the examination and diagnose problems
  • Determine and administer treatment
  • Fit and dispense hearing aids
  • Counsel and educate patients and their families on ways to listen and communicate, including lip reading or sign language
  • Follow up with patient care, seeing the patient regularly to check on hearing and balance and address treatment accordingly
  • Keep records of a patient’s progress
  • Engage in research opportunities to better understand the causes and treatments of hearing and balance disorders

Audiologists are essential when it comes to your hearing health. If you or someone you love is experiencing hearing loss, don’t hesitate to locate an audiologist in your area and schedule an appointment.