Noticing Hearing Problems

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It's estimated 32 million Americans suffer from some type of hearing loss.

Many of those Americans are Baby Boomers who are unaware that they have a hearing problem.

An AARP expert says the reason for their problem may attributed to hair cells in the cochlea of the inner ear.

Dr. Ron Kuppersmith is a physician with Texas ENT & Allergy and says, "The kind of hearing loss that's common with aging and with noise exposure and exposure to different medication, the kind that's not necessarily treatable with medication or surgery is related to damage to those cells." Those hair cells are crucial for the hearing process.

He says Baby Boomers need to pay attention to any warning sign. A good way to notice is if you're having trouble hearing when there is competing background noise. The settings are usually common in restaurants or when you're in a large crowd.

Kuppersmith says the faster a person comes in, the faster a doctor can help prevent more damage and find out what's wrong. "Hearing loss can be made worse by noise exposure," Kuppersmith said. "There may be a family predisposition to hearing loss and there may be a medication that some might have taken that could have impacted their hearing."

Hearing devices can fix some of these problems. But the age old stigma of hearing aids still lingers. The stigma that plagues the aids are if you need one, you are old.

And that is keeping some Baby Boomer out of the physicians office.

The good news is that manufacturers are using technology to innovate new, sleek, more attractive hearing aids. An assortment of styles and designs that can fit inside of the ear canal. There are some that can fit on the outer ear and another actually goes behind the ear.

Kuppersmith says hearing test are painless and easy and they can help increase your quality of life. He advises Baby Boomers and all generations to listen to their bodies.
"I think if there's any suspicion that you have a hearing loss that you should come get it checked out."