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5 Fun Facts about How You Hear and Untreated Hearing Loss

Apr 08, 2024

Take a moment to listen to the world around you. Beyond familiar voices and the TV, what other sounds do you hear? Can you pick up on the hum in the background, the traffic, or a neighbor's dog barking?

Hearing is a remarkable yet often overlooked sense that quietly works in the background of our lives. In honor of Hearing Month, let's explore the fascinating world of hearing and uncover five incredible facts you may not know about your ears.

  1. Tiny "Hair" Cells and the Impact on Your Quality of Life

    Inside your ear, there are tiny hair cells that convert sound waves into electrical signals. These cells, known as stereocilia, are crucial for your hearing. With around 16,000 of them resembling a rolled-up carpet in the cochlea, they are susceptible to damage, especially from noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). Shocking statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO) reveal that over 1 billion young adults worldwide are at risk of NIHL due to exposure to loud environments.

  2. Your Left and Right Ears Hear Differently

    Recent scientific discoveries have unveiled distinct roles played by the left and right ears in processing sound. The right ear excels in deciphering speech, while the left ear is finely tuned for music and emotions. An imbalance in hearing loss between the ears may signal underlying medical conditions like Meniere's disease.

  3. Noticing Missing Sounds with Untreated Hearing Loss

    People with hearing issues often notice improved perception of high-pitched sounds, like birds, when they get hearing aids. This type of hearing loss, known as "high-frequency hearing loss," affects around 25% of people between 55 and 64 years old and nearly 50% of those 65 and older, according to research by the Hearing Health Foundation.

  4. Untreated Hearing Loss and Its Surprising Impact on Fatigue

    Hearing loss isn't just about missing sounds; it introduces an unexpected challenge—fatigue. Struggling to understand sounds demands heightened concentration, impacting work productivity globally. In the United States alone, the Better Hearing Institute estimates an annual cost of $56 billion in lost productivity due to untreated hearing loss.

    Addressing untreated hearing loss, through interventions like hearing aids, not only alleviates fatigue but also contributes to improved overall well-being and economic productivity.

  5. Untreated Hearing Loss and Its Effect on Brain Structure

    Untreated hearing loss doesn't just affect hearing; it initiates complex changes in the brain. Auditory deprivation can lead to structural alterations and, in extreme cases, brain atrophy. Timely intervention, such as using hearing aids, emerges as a potent strategy to counteract cognitive decline, reducing the heightened risk of cognitive impairment and dementia associated with untreated hearing loss.

Now that you understand more about how your hearing works, don't forget to schedule a visit to SOUNDLIFE Hearing Center if you suspect you might have hearing loss. Taking a proactive approach to address potential issues can help you hear well and live well.