How Fast Will My Hearing Loss Progress?

How Fast Will My Hearing Loss Progress?

If you have a hearing loss you probably have questions about the progression of this loss. In this article, we’re answering some of our own patient’s common questions:

How fast will my hearing loss progress? 

The most common type of hearing loss is a gradual decrease in hearing sensitivity. This decrease typically starts in our 20’s but it does not impact our ability to communicate in most situations until our 50’s to 60’s.  

The progression of loss typically stays the same after the loss has been identified, even with the use of hearing aids. There are other factors that can contribute to a faster decline in hearing loss, or acceleration of hearing loss such as: 

  • Smoking
  • Noise exposure
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Idiopathic sudden hearing loss

Will wearing hearing aids prevent further hearing loss?

Wearing or not wearing hearing aids will not affect the sensory progression of hearing loss. We are specifically talking about the changes that occur to the hair cells within the cochlea. However, the daily use of properly fit hearing aids may preserve the clarity of speech. This is a direct relationship from the stimulation of the neural pathways in the brain from the amplified sound. Properly fit hearing aids that are worn all day every day keep these pathways strong, which will improve your ability to communicate easier. This ease of communication lessens our cognitive load. You can learn more about the link between cognition and hearing loss here

Will I ever completely lose all of my hearing?

Typically, no. The above comorbidities may accelerate hearing loss.

Will I need cochlear implants? When?

Cochlear Implants are only recommended when hearing aids are no longer useful. Your audiologist is your hearing coach for life and will guide you through this process which will include an evaluation and all the information that you will need if you reach this point. 

Will I need new hearing aids as my hearing loss gets worse or progresses?

When you and your audiologist choose your hearing aids together, the audiologist chooses a hearing aid that would have the capability to meet your needs for 5-6 years. The hearing aid itself will have a useful lifespan of 5-6 years. 

Additionally, your audiologist will test your hearing annually and will use this data to ensure that you are receiving the right amount of amplification as your hearing loss changes. Even small changes in hearing sensitivity will warrant the reprogramming of your hearing aids. The programming will be verified and customized with the measurement of live speech with probe mic measurements. 

Your hearing aids will evolve with you, your brain, your hearing sensitivity, and your life! This includes new hobbies, such as learning how to play an instrument or changes in your family such as new grandchildren riding in the backseat of your car, or maybe, yikes! to you as they are learning how to drive. 

The portion of your hearing aids that fit in your ears may change as your hearing loss changes. This may mean that you move from a tip on the end that is replaceable, we call it a dome, that is one size to another, or from a dome to a custom-made earpiece. These are all small changes that your audiologist will guide you through and will ensure that you receive the maximum benefit from your hearing aids. This is why it is crucial that you are seen for a hearing test every year, especially after being fit with a hearing aid!

Need Help With Your Hearing Loss Journey?

Are you wearing hearing aids but have not been receiving the follow-up care that your brain and hearing need? Are you curious if your hearing aids are programmed and fit to your specific hearing loss? Did your hearing aids seem to make a difference at first, but now you are not so sure that they are helping you?

These are all excellent questions and ones that we love to answer for you!  Please call to make a consultation with one of our Doctors of Audiology at (916) 646-2471.

Interested in learning more? Attend one of our regular hearing solution events to learn more about our unique approach to hearing loss or give us a call at 916-646-2471.

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