Hearing loss

Your Guide to Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is common

Nearly 40 million Americans have hearing loss and this number is expected to rapidly climb over the next decade.  It can happen gradually, making it difficult to self-diagnose. If hearing loss is affecting life, family, work or everyday interactions for you or a loved one, take our free hearing quiz.

What causes hearing loss?

Hearing loss can be caused by many different factors, but the most common causes of hearing loss are the following ones.





Exposure to noise can affect hearing

Excessive noise exposure is the leading cause of adult hearing loss in the United States. In particular:

  1. Exposure to an extremely loud noise such as an explosion
  2. Continuous exposure to loud environmental or work sounds such as traffic, heavy equipment, drills, sirens, etc. 
  3. Repeatedly listening to earbuds or headphones at high volumes


Related health conditions

Hearing loss is connected to many other health conditions throughout the body. While hearing loss may not be the cause of these diseases or conditions, it is considered a risk factor for many.

  1. Certain infections such as bacterial meningitis and mumps can cause hearing loss.
  2. Genetics may cause full or partial hearing loss at birth
  3. Family health history may indicate a pattern of hearing loss

Related diseases and risk factors include: Meniere's disease, tinnitus, heart diseases, dementia, thyroid disease and sleep apnea.


Aging deteriorates inner ear function

Tiny hairlike cells that help you hear die with age and do not regrow.

Chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease, can lead to hearing loss.

Types of hearing loss

There are three main types of hearing loss, and treatment will often depend on the kind of hearing loss you have. Types of hearing loss include:

Sensorineural hearing loss

The most common type of hearing loss is known as sensorineural hearing loss. It's a permanent hearing loss that occurs when there is damage to either the cells of the inner ear or the auditory nerve itself. In many adults, the cause is usually exposure to loud noise over time.

Conductive hearing loss

Conductive hearing loss occurs when there is an obstruction or damage to the outer or middle ear. This prevents sound from being conducted to the inner ear. It may be permanent or temporary, depending on the exact cause.

Mixed hearing loss

Mixed hearing loss is exactly what the name suggests: a combination of sensorineural and conductive hearing loss. It commonly occurs when there has been damage over time and some trauma to the ear.

Signs of hearing loss

No matter what type of hearing loss you have, the symptoms largely look the same. Here are some common early signs of hearing loss to watch for. If you or a family member are experiencing one or more of these symptoms, it may be time for a hearing test. 

You struggle to understand others

One early sign of hearing loss that is quite common is misunderstanding people that are speaking to you.  This can lead to misinterpretations and miscommunication between you and those you communicate with. If you often find yourself mistaking what people say, hearing loss could be to blame, and it might be time for a hearing test.

Loved ones complain about volume levels

Whether you're watching TV, listening to music, or talking on the phone, you might think that the noise level is perfectly normal until someone asks you to turn it down. Obviously, some people are bound to have more sensitive hearing, but when several people tell you the same thing in a variety of situations, there's a good chance that you could be struggling to hear. So if your family, friends, and coworkers have voiced the opinion that you talk too loudly and your music and television habits follow suit, it may be time for a hearing test.

You have trouble hearing in crowds

One of the first signs that you're suffering from hearing loss is when you have difficulty following a conversation in crowds. If you often have trouble differentiating between who’s speaking to you in a noisy environment, you could be in the early stages of hearing loss.

Your ears are ringing or buzzing

In truth, tinnitus is not necessarily a symptom of hearing loss, but the two often go hand-in-hand, especially if hearing loss is related to noise damage. If you notice a ringing or buzzing in your ears, you'll want to get it checked out by a hearing care professional. You should also take the opportunity to get a hearing test, just in case you have both conditions. Studies have shown that hearing aids can both relieve your tinnitus and help you hear if you have hearing loss.

You're constantly saying "What?"

Asking others to repeat themselves constantly is not only frustrating to those trying to tell you something, but it can start to make you feel uncomfortable as well. For this reason, people suffering from hearing loss often resort to nodding and smiling when people talk, even if they're not catching a word. If this is you or someone you know, it would probably be worth getting a hearing exam.
A couple smiles at each other in a park

The impact of hearing loss

Hearing loss can lead to many associated health conditions, including injury causing falls, dementia, Alzheimer's disease, and depression. Hearing loss often occurs gradually, and it can be hard to notice. That's why it's so important to get your hearing tested regularly, even if you think your hearing is 'just fine.' Don't miss another moment - take the next step to treat your hearing loss.

Treating hearing loss

Even mild hearing loss can negatively affect key areas of your life, including mental health, physical health and income. Untreated hearing loss is more noticeable to others than actually wearing hearing aids.

Today’s advanced hearing aids are very effective. Recent developments in technology have resulted in hearing aids that are easy to use, effective, and comfortable to wear. Hearing aids are very small, discreet and loaded with advanced technology to improve hearing in noisy environments and connect you with your smart phone and other devices like your TV and computer. Even hearing aids in the budget friendly price tiers have a wide variety of features. Manufacturers are constantly improving their hearing aids – all major hearing aid manufacturers now produce rechargeable hearing aids, with direct blue tooth connection, and improved moisture resistance. 

Taking the next step

I might have hearing loss…

If you think you may have hearing loss or are experiencing any of the symptoms of hearing loss, you can take our quick and easy online hearing quiz to check to see if it may be time see a hearing care professional. 

You can also contact us directly to find a hearing care provider near you and schedule an appointment for a hearing evaluation.

I have hearing loss…

If a hearing loss professional has diagnosed you with hearing loss, we can help. The Union Plus hearing program through Amplifon Hearing Health Care gives you access to a free hearing exam and preferred pricing on hearing aids. 

Ready to get started?

  1. Call us at (877) 583-7071. Our friendly and knowledgeable Hearing Care Advocates will help you find a hearing care provider near you.
  2. Your Hearing Care Advocate will also explain the details of the Amplifon Program and assist you with making an appointment.
  3. Amplifon will send you and your provider the necessary information to activate your Amplifon program.

I know someone with hearing loss…

What can you do?

  1. Be Compassionate - Denial is common among those with hearing loss; they may not want to admit they have a problem. Instead, listen and offer support while emphasizing ways they can proactively treat or manage hearing loss.
  2. Share Your Knowledge - Advanced technology and personalized care have made hearing aids incredibly effective, comfortable, and nearly undetectable. Help educate the individual about different types of hearing aids and how to find care.
  3. Minimize Anxieties - Seeking treatment for hearing loss can be overwhelming. Share some of the available resources like resources Direct them to available resources, like the guide to hearing loss and our hearing aids page. If you're able, offer support by attending appointments with them and encourage them to reach out to Amplifon if they have any questions about their hearing care program.

Could I have hearing loss?

If you think you may have hearing loss, take our quick and easy online hearing quiz.

Rediscover the joy of sound

Check your hearing benefits

Benefit check

Find care near you

Find a clinic