Family gatherings bring out our best and our worst, especially when it comes to hearing loss. Put a soft-spoken grandchild across the dinner table from grandmother, add clanking dishes, a loud football game on the television and you have a recipe for disastrous communication.

According to National Institute on Aging, 18 percent of American adults 45-64 years old, 30 percent of adults 65-74 years old, and 47 percent of adults 75 years old, or older, have a hearing impairment. Given these numbers, hearing loss affects the majority of Americans 60 or older.

The remarkable ear

The human ear is a remarkable instrument. With normal hearing we can hear pitches an octave below the lowest note on a piano to two octaves above the highest. The loudest sound we can briefly tolerate is approximately 4000 times as loud as the softest one we can hear.

Our ears and brain work together to help “bring out” the sounds we want to hear by using pattern recognition.

When the delicate cells in the ear that receive sound deteriorate because of aging, genetics, or noise exposure, the brain doesn’t have as many sound clues to solve the puzzle of what is being transmitted. Add distracting background sounds from a full household—or a mind that does not follow things quite as quickly as it used to—and it becomes impossible to understand what is being said.

Hearing Loss, Relationships and Depression

Many people become frustrated and give up because of the difficulty of carrying on a conversation. That is as true for the person with hearing loss as well as the one trying to be heard. Withdrawal from the conversation and isolation results. For those who don’t get help, it is not surprising that people with hearing loss suffer higher rates of depression and their families report less satisfaction in their relationships.

The good news is that hearing loss can be helped with appropriately fitted hearing aids. Combined with assistance to turn down background noise and good face-to-face communication, the richness of family relationships can be restored.

We’ve been serving people in the Lawrence area for over thirty years. If you or a loved one are experiencing hearing loss, we’re here to help at Lawrence Otolaryngology Associates, LLC.

We can help.
We’ve been serving people in the Lawrence area for over thirty years. If you or a loved one are experiencing hearing loss, we’re here to help at Lawrence Otolaryngology Associates, LLC.