Hearing Loss Archive


Hearing aid use linked to longer life

A 2024 study found that the risk of premature death was 24% lower among people who used hearing aids regularly, compared with people who never used hearing aids.

New thinking about tinnitus

Tinnitus is widely believed to be caused by hearing loss. But that theory hasn't explained the cause of the problem for people with normal hearing tests who still have tinnitus. Increasing evidence suggests that some of these people have "hidden" hearing loss: damage to the auditory nerve—which carries sound signals from the ear to the brain—that isn't picked up by conventional tests. The evidence offers hope that if perhaps one day auditory nerve fibers can be regenerated, it might help reduce the perception of tinnitus.

Why is the ringing in my ears getting worse?

Tinnitus is a ringing, buzzing, or other sound in the ears. Age-related hearing loss is the most common cause of tinnitus, which can also be triggered or worsened by exposure to loud noises, medications, ear infections, head injuries, high blood pressure, and declining estrogen.

Hearing aids may reduce cognitive decline

A 2023 study suggests using hearing aids may reduce the risk of cognitive decline, especially in older adults with the highest risk of developing severe cognitive impairment.

Tips for getting used to over-the-counter hearing aids

For people who buy over-the-counter hearing aids, getting the devices is only a first step toward better hearing. It takes time to learn how to use, wear, and adjust the hearing aids, especially during the first two weeks. Tips to ease through this adjustment period include wearing devices at home for at least a few hours per day, and longer if possible; allowing soft sounds to be louder than normal at first; and learning to switch device settings for changes in environmental noise, such as going from a quiet street into a noisy restaurant.

Why do my ears feel clogged?

Ears can feel clogged due to impacted earwax, swollen or blocked eustachian tubes, or hearing loss. If the sensation persists, a doctor should examine a person's ears and hearing.

Hearing aids: Can they help thinking skills, too?

A 2022 review of dozens of randomized controlled trials and observational studies found that people who used hearing aids or cochlear implants had a 19% lower risk of cognitive decline, compared with people who didn't use the devices.

Over-the-counter hearing aids: What we know so far

Over-the-counter hearing aids are now available in stores and online. They're regulated by the FDA, they don't require a prescription from a doctor, and they're cheaper than prescription hearing aids. But over-the-counter devices are not right for everyone. They're meant only for adults with perceived mild to moderate hearing loss. Before buying a pair, a person should do some homework to find devices with the right fit and features, including a trial period that allows the buyer to return them if they aren't working out.

Seeing a surgeon?

A pre-surgery consultation with the surgeon can feel overwhelming. Many people are anxious and have questions about what's to come. Setting the right expectations on both sides can ease anxiety and help define a successful outcome.

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