By Carlos Alonso, MD
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
In 1989, the report of the task force for National Institutes on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (USA), determined the identification of biologic risk factors leading to the disability of age related hearing loss as a major research goal.
At present, we know that several factors have contributed to the global burden of disabling hearing impairment. The first one is that mean life expectancy has increased in many countries, another is improvement in the technology available for diagnosis and rehabilitation and third reason is ototoxic medication and hearing loss due to labor, recreational and environmental noise.
While mortality directly related to hearing loss is minimal, quality of life may be substantially reduced. Hearing loss has been associated with a twofold increase in depression and social isolation, it also is one component of memory loss and decreased cognitive function in the elderly.
Although they do not substitute professional care and pure tone evaluation, self-hearing screening questions are a great help to identify hearing loss. For example:
1. Have your family complained about the volume of your television being too loud?
2. Do you find that people do not speak clearly enough?
3. You do hear but you don´t always understand what others are saying?
4. Do you have trouble hearing on the telephone?
5. Do you avoid social activities because of hearing difficulties when many people speak together?
The good news is that hearing loss often can be rehabilitated. With a visit to your Hearing Care Professional, you can get an evaluation and find out whether modern hearing instruments can help you regain clearer, more natural hearing, and stay engaged with the world around you.