What is hearing loss?


of the world population and


Americans have some degree of hearing loss

If you have a hearing loss, you are not alone - it can happen to anybody and it often comes gradually with age. About 10% of world population and over 30 million Americans have some degree of hearing loss, and the causes for it vary from person to person. 

As hearing loss often worsens gradually, many people simply aren’t aware of the problem – they attribute their hearing difficulties to other causes and gradually change their lives.  The majority of people with hearing loss rely on hearing aids to improve their hearing and continue living a full life


common cause of hearing loss

  • Hearing well depends on tiny cells called “hair cells” (because of their shape and appearance), that are found within the cochlea in the inner ear. There are two types of hair cells—inner hair cells and outer hair cells. Outer hair cells amplify soft sounds and help to ensure that different pitches of sounds are separated. Inner hair cells transmit sounds to nerve impulses that are sent to the brain, where we hear them as sound.
  • People living with mild-to-moderate hearing loss usually have damage their outer hair cells, and have trouble understanding softer speech, such as the voices of women and children. Hearing in noise is also difficult.
  • Severe hearing loss is more complex due to the loss of both inner and outer hair cells. Audibility of soft, moderate and even some loud sounds is affected. The distortion created by the damage to the inner ear severely impacts clarity of the sound that is received by the brain. A common observation from patients with severe-to-profound hearing loss is that hearing aids make sounds easier to hear, but not always easier to understand. 

Typical age related hearing loss and hearing audiogram

Look at this sample audiogram below. The letters represent the frequency of common speech sounds in the English language.

Click on the box where it says Speech Banana on the lower right of the audiogram and you will see where the common speech sounds fall within an audiogram.

On the right hand side of the audiogram, you can click and select an age range. For each age, you will see where an average hearing person would fall within the audiogram and which sounds they may be missing.

All sounds above the line will be sounds that you are missing.

graph dB H z -10 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 110 120 250 125 500 1000 2000 4000 8000 z v j mdb n ng ei o r a sh ch h p g s th f l u

Take the first step toward better hearing

Hearing loss is a health issue that may require medical attention, so it is important not to ignore it. If you suspect or have been diagnosed with hearing loss, accepting hearing loss and taking action early can dramatically improve your quality of life. Schedule a free hearing evaluation with your nearest Beltone hearing care professional as soon as possible.
Request an appointment
Beltone hearing care professional.

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