Your ears are important things. After all, hearing is a crucial thing in many lives. From music to communication to just general and basic awareness of our surroundings, learning to live without your hearing can be more than difficult. However, hearing impairment is common, caused by many different things among many different people here in the United States. Learning to live with a hearing impairment (if you have not had it since birth, that is) can truly be a difficult thing, but it is certainly not impossible. However, it is will time and patience before you feel as comfortable in the world as you did before, when you had your full hearing capabilities.

But hearing loss leading to hearing impairments is far from uncommon – and even far from unlikely – no matter what part of the United States you might live in. For every one thousand children that are born, two or three will have considerable hearing loss in one of their ears or even in both. These children, who have never known a world with full hearing capabilities, are likely to adapt very quickly to their hearing impairment and to functioning in the world around them. For many people, however, hearing loss comes only with age, what with more than thirty percent of the elderly (those over the age of sixty five) dealing with hearing loss here in the United States. When your hearing impairment can be attributed to age, it is likely to come on slowly and gradually, growing worse as time passes on and you become older. Finally, damaging your hearing can lead to a permanent hearing impairment and, in the nearly twenty percent of people who are between the ages of fifteen and sixty nine who have hearing damage, this typically is a result of exposure to high frequency sounds. All in all, those with some level of hearing damage and hearing impairment total in the hundreds of millions, a number that is anticipated to reach nine hundred million people by the time that we reach the year of 2025, now less than ten years away from us here in our current year of 2018.

So if you have a hearing impairment, what can you do about it? There are a number of steps to take. For parents with children who have been diagnosed with a hearing problem either shortly after birth or in childhood, learning sign language is often the best solution. Sign language provides such children with a mode of effective communication even before they become particularly involved in the outside world and can certainly help to promote healthy language development, particularly if all members of the family at least make an attempt to learn the nuances of the language. For those who experience hearing loss and are diagnosed with a hearing impairment later on in life, this can be more difficult. Many will instead opt to wear a hearing aid, a device that can amplify hearing considerably in lose who are living with a hearing impairment and can improve quality of life by quite a great deal. In total, it is estimated that more than ten million people who are currently living here in the United States use hearing aids of varying strengths and frequencies on a regular basis.

If you suspect that you yourself might have a hearing impairment but have not yet officially been diagnosed with one, there are a number of steps that you should take. First, discuss the suspected problem with your general care practitioner. They are likely to send you to an ENT – an ear, nose, and throat specialist – who can give you a thorough hearing evaluation. Some people are fortunate, and the only thing blocking their hearing is a build up of wax. However, if you are diagnosed with some type of hearing impairment, you will likely begin to discuss causes as well as treatment plans with your ENT. Hearing screenings are also performed in the vast majority of elementary schools all throughout the United States, as early detection of a hearing problem is likely to make it easier to treat.