Hard of Hearing refers to someone who doesn’t hear well. This may be because they were born with a hearing loss or they may have lost some or all of their hearing later in life.

Many hard of hearing people don’t know that they have a hearing loss. Some simply deny it, even though they may know that their hearing is diminished. In all, nearly 10% of all people have some level of hearing loss.

Like any medical condition, the sooner you address hearing loss the better.

Some common signs that you may have hearing loss are:

  • You have trouble hearing on the telephone. 
  • You have trouble following a conversation when people are talking at the same time.
  • The family (or your neighbor!) complains that your TV is too loud.
  • You’re tired from straining to hear conversations.
  • You have trouble hearing in noisy environments.
  • People don’t seem to speak clearly.
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    Hearing Loss

  • You have trouble hearing children and women.

Hearing loss is defined as one of three types:

Conductive (involves outer or middle ear)
Sensorineural (involves inner ear, the cochlea, the 8th cranial nerve)
Mixed (combination of the two)

Aging and chronic exposure to loud noises both contribute to hearing loss. Other factors, such as excessive earwax, can temporarily reduce how well your ears conduct sounds.

You can’t reverse most types of hearing loss. However, you and your doctor or a hearing specialist can take steps to improve what you hear.