If you or a loved one suspect age-related hearing loss, you’re not alone. Despite being one of the most common ailments to the over-50 population, hearing loss is also one of the most frequently missed diagnoses. In a recently published study in JAMA Network Open, up to a third of adults over the age of 50 could have undetected and untreated hearing loss.

Undetected Hearing Loss

Hearing loss affects one in three adults over the age of 65, so why is it becoming common for older adults to suffer without a diagnosis? The study performed by researchers at the University of Manchester shows that millions of adults may be living life with hearing loss without assistance. Participants in the study reported having normal hearing but were later found to fit the criteria for hearing loss. 

Additionally, women and those living in less affluent areas were found to be at higher risk of having undiagnosed hearing loss. Undiagnosed hearing loss is attributed to a higher risk of mental and physical health problems, such as depression and anxiety, dementia, and heart problems, etc. 

How Do You Know if You Have Undiagnosed Hearing Loss?

It’s important to stay alert to the signs of hearing loss even at a young age; hearing loss isn’t necessarily an old person’s problem! Common symptoms of hearing loss include:

  • Muffled speech (may sound like mumbling)
  • Difficulty hearing consonants 
  • Trouble distinguishing words from background noises
  • Asking others to speak more loudly
  • Turning the volume up 
  • Avoidance of social activities

If left unnoticed for long enough, undiagnosed hearing loss can even be misdiagnosed in older patients as dementia. When a patient struggles to hear something for an extended period, it’s common for them to eventually forget what they were originally trying to hear, leading others to believe they have memory problems instead of noticing it’s a hearing problem.

How to Ensure Your Hearing is Up-to-Par

Knowing how many adults are inadvertently leaving their hearing loss untreated, it’s more important than ever to keep tabs on your hearing. Find a primary care provider who makes hearing checks a part of their routine check-ups. Talk to your friends and family about your concerns and tell them to let you know if you ever show early signs of having hearing loss. Catching a hearing loss early on will give you a better quality of life in the long run.

For an active approach to taking charge of your hearing, consider scheduling a comprehensive hearing assessment with Audiology and Hearing Aid Associates. Your safety is our top priority, and we’ve implemented several COVID-19-safe protocols to ensure everyone who enters and exits remains at their healthiest. 

We have a drive-in clinic set up for your convenience, and telehealth sessions from the comfort of home should you not wish to come in. Visit our website or call us at (541) 612-7555 today to schedule an Access Audiology consultation. 

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Erika Shakespeare CCC-A

Erika Shakespeare CCC-A

Erika Shakespeare, CCC-A, specializes in pediatric and adult diagnostics and amplification. Working with adults to help manage tinnitus and hearing loss since 2002, she is an expert in both of these areas. Additionally, she is a pediatric audiology mentor and educator for pediatric audiologists across the country and is one of the most respected experts on pediatric audiology.