Audiology has a normal range from birth to about 20 years of age, but after that, we can only compare hearing back to that range. Hearing typically starts to decline slowly; for some, in their 20s, others, not until their late 40s. Certainly, by the time the 60s roll around, about 30% of people have at least a mild hearing loss, which is enough to affect conversation and comprehension.
When someone defensively says, “My hearing is normal for my age” they are really saying, “Hearing loss is common among people my age; I’ll get by.” However, that doesn’t make it normal hearing and the loss should not be ignored. Avoiding the subject can lead to misunderstandings, from a humorous event to a very embarrassing moment, so an evaluation by an audiologist is the best course of action.
An audiologist is a professional trained to evaluate hearing. Once the evaluation has been done, you can then make an intelligent decision about what to do next. 85% of test results show nerve cell damage from aging and exposure to loud noise, through work or loud hobbies such as using power tools and guns. Since nothing can be done by the physician or an easy surgical procedure, the answer to better hearing for this 85% majority is hearing aids. If you are one of the other 15%, a physician will be recommended.
Fortunately, hearing aids these days have high quality sound, fit comfortably, and most styles are hardly noticeable. Keep in mind, everybody’s hearing loss is different and that’s why the skills of an experienced audiologist are so important to find the right ones for
each patient. Then the hearing ability will be improved no matter what the age. Don’t settle for just getting by; have your hearing tested and find out that better hearing truly can improve your life.