What’s That Ringing in My Ears and Why Do I Hear It? Part I

Do you hear noise in your ears when there shouldn’t be a sound? That may be tinnitus. Tinnitus, often called ringing in the ears, is the perception of a sound not present in the environment and can actually sound like a ringing, whistling, buzzing or just about any other type of sound. Tinnitus is correlated […]

Say What? Hearing Loss Increasingly Common In Aging Population

Hearing loss is one of the most common disorders affecting older people: approximately 18 percent of American adults aged 45-64 years, 30 percent of adults aged 65-74 years and 47 percent of adults over age 75 have some degree of hearing impairment. Hearing loss generally falls into two categories: sensorineural (when damage occurs to the […]

What? I Can’t Hear You—You’re Mumbling Again

Dear Mr. Dad: I’m concerned about my mom. She’s in her mid 60s and her hearing has been getting worse and worse. She doesn’t participate in family discussions as much as she used to and she isn’t nearly as engaged with my children. I’ve suggested getting hearing aids but she refuses to–she says they’ll make her look old. Is there anything we can do?

A: Overall, about 11 percent of the U.S population has some hearing loss. And your mother is among the 28 million Americans over 50 who suffer from it. Unfortunately,  more than half of these people have never had their hearing tested and five out of every six who could benefit from treatment—including your mother—don’t get it. Doctors usually don’t ask about hearing in routine physicals and the average hearing impaired person waits 5-10 years before finally going in to see an audiologist.

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Can You Hear Me Now?

Dear Mr. Dad: Our teenage son has an iPod constantly hanging from his ear and as far as I can tell, he listens to the music much too loud. When I ask him to lower the volume because I’m worried that the noise is damaging his hearing, he just laughs. However, I am really worried. What should I do?

A: You’re absolutely right to be concerned about your son’s listening habits—as you suspected, there’s no question that he’s jeopardizing his long-term ability to hear. As far as his shrugging off your pleas to turn down the volume on his iPod, it’s all part of his irrational belief (one he shares with most kids) that he’s indestructible and that nothing bad can happen to him because he is young and strong. Or maybe he thinks that hearing loss only affects old people.
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