Have you noticed that some of your favorite sounds, like your favorite songs or the laughter of your friends, aren’t as clear as they used to be?
If you’re a young adult between the ages of 18 and 25, you may not think that hearing loss is something that you need to worry about. However, the truth is hearing loss is becoming increasingly common among young adults, and it’s important to take action to address it. Perhaps what makes this a matter of great urgency is the report that the problem of hearing loss is expected to continue rising as years pass by.
In this article, we’ll explore the different types of hearing loss that can occur in young adults, how to get diagnosed and treated, and the best hearing aids for young adults. We’ll also cover the features that young adults would find most beneficial in hearing aids and suggest some top hearing aid brands and models. If you’re a young adult experiencing hearing loss, don’t wait any longer to seek help. Read on to learn more.
Types Of Hearing Loss Among Young Adults
For ages, aging and genetics have been the most common predictors of hearing loss. They are still at the very center of hearing loss problems. According to the factsheet provided by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, a branch of the National Institutes of Health, the age factor is the most potent predictor of hearing loss among individuals between the ages of 20 to 69, with the most significant hearing loss occurring in the 60 to 69 age range.
However, although genetics and aging are significant factors that contribute to hearing loss, young adults and children are also experiencing an increase in temporary and permanent hearing impairments. The rise in popularity of portable music players and exposure to loud noises, such as concerts and sporting events, have become additional risk factors for hearing loss among young people and are greatly implicated in the emergence of noise-induced hearing loss.
For a young adult, this trend is particularly concerning. This is because hearing loss can have a significant impact on a person’s social and emotional well-being, academic or work performance, and quality of life, which is important, especially in one’s peak years of energy. Therefore, young adults must be aware of the potential risks and take proactive steps to protect their hearing.
Nonetheless, though they may prevent the development of hearing loss, there still will be a few who develop this problem. If you are among this group, this particular article is for you as it seeks to provide you with a guideline on how to approach the situation ?to enable leading a better-quality life.
How To Know If You Have Hearing Loss?
As you transition from adolescence to adulthood, you tend to think of yourself as invincible and impervious to age-related ailments. However, it may come as a surprise that hearing loss is not just a disease that affects the elderly. It can impact people of all ages, including young adults.
Recognizing the onset of hearing loss in oneself can be challenging, as the changes can be gradual and not immediately noticeable. Often, it’s only through the observations of others that you become aware of hearing difficulties. A close friend or family member may point out that you are frequently asking them to repeat themselves or that you’ve increased the volume of the TV or music beyond what they consider to be normal.
It’s essential to pay attention to such feedback and take it seriously. Ignoring early signs of hearing loss can lead to further complications down the road, including social isolation, depression, and cognitive decline. Seeking the help of a medical professional and getting a hearing test is the first step in addressing the issue and preventing it from becoming a more significant problem in the future.
During the visit, you can expect to undergo a series of tests that will help identify the extent and nature of your hearing difficulty. These tests typically involve assessing how well you hear sound at various frequencies using each one of your ears, then assessing how well you hear those tones as they are played through the bones in your skull, and then how well you do at recognizing speech.
Once the hearing tests are complete, the hearing healthcare professional will analyze the results and provide you with a definitive diagnosis. Depending on the severity and nature of the hearing loss, they may recommend appropriate interventions, such as hearing aids, cochlear implants, or other forms of treatment.
It’s essential to take action as soon as possible, as untreated hearing loss can lead to further complications such as communication difficulties, social isolation, and decreased quality of life. By seeking the help of hearing healthcare professionals and following their recommendations, we can take appropriate action to address our hearing difficulties and maintain a healthy and fulfilling life.
Treatment Options For Hearing Loss
The treatment options available for hearing loss depend on various factors, such as the cause and severity of the hearing loss. For some individuals, surgery may be an option to correct hearing loss. However, surgical procedures are only an option for a very small percentage of cases. Fortunately, there are alternative options available that can improve the hearing ability of most individuals.
One popular option is the use of hearing aids. These devices are designed to amplify sound and improve speech clarity, making it easier to communicate and engage in daily activities. Hearing aids come in a variety of styles and sizes, making them versatile and convenient options for individuals with different needs and preferences.
Assistive listening devices are another option for individuals with hearing loss. These devices include captioned telephones, FM systems, and personal amplifiers and are designed to enhance hearing in specific situations, such as in noisy environments or over the phone.
In addition to using hearing aids and assistive listening devices to significantly improve hearing ability, some individuals may also choose to make adaptations to their lifestyle to accommodate their hearing loss. For example, they may choose to sit closer to the speaker during a conversation and look at their lips (we all have the ability to read lips even if we are not consciously aware of it) or avoid noisy environments.
Hearing aids have historically been the most popular treatment option for hearing loss due to their effectiveness, and new technological advances are making them even more effective, user-friendly, and almost invisible.
Best Hearing Aids For Young Adults Options
Hearing aids have come a long way since their inception, and boy, are we glad for it! Gone are the days of bulky, uncomfortable devices that made constant screeching sounds. And let’s be real, no young adult wants to be caught dead wearing something that screams “old age.” But fear not, because the evolution of hearing aids has brought us options that cater to every age group.
While age is just a number when it comes to product selection, it’s still a factor to consider. Young adults, for instance, have different priorities than their older counterparts when it comes to hearing aid features. Comfort, connectivity, and discretion are key concerns for young adults. They don’t want to feel insecure or stigmatized for their hearing impairment – instead, they want a device that seamlessly fits into their daily routine and makes their life easier. The Sony CRE-C10 is a great hearing aid option and is self-fitting compatible.
And that’s the ultimate goal, right? A hearing aid that doesn’t make us feel like we’re missing out on life. It’s about breaking down barriers and giving young adults the freedom to be themselves, connect with their peers, and engage in social situations without fear or anxiety.
Let’s explore some of the features we should consider as we seek our hearing aids.
Features For Young Adults
As we consider hearing aids for young adults, we need to consider specific features of the delivery model as well as device features that may be more relevant to this demographic.
- Delivery and Fitting Features
For younger adults, finding the right hearing aid can be a challenge. Getting hearing aids through the traditional channels can be time-consuming and may not offer the convenience and flexibility needed for busy, tech-savvy individuals. Fortunately, there are alternatives available that provide modern care methods that fit their lifestyles.
Telehealth is a popular alternative for those who want to save time and avoid in-person appointments. Some alternatives include online testing and remote programming of hearing aids, which can then be shipped directly to the customer’s home.
Remote consultations can be made through video calls, and hearing aids can now be programmed using a smartphone with an internet connection, making it a convenient option for young adults on the go.
Over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids are a newly popular option as they offer lower costs and increased flexibility. These devices can be purchased online or at a retailer and then be self-programmed to match the user’s hearing loss using a smartphone.
- Device Features
Style and size options are also important for younger adults who are looking for discreet devices that fit their lifestyles. Modern RIC (Receiver-In-Canal) hearing aids, small and discreet devices that are worn behind the ear and have wires that come over the ear and into the ear canal, are the most comfortable and feature-rich options, representing 80% of hearing aid wearers. However, in-the-ear styles are an option for those willing to do without some features in favor of devices that are small and almost invisible.
Additionally, modern features like Bluetooth streaming, rechargeable batteries, and smartphone apps are essential for younger adults who want to stay connected and in control of their hearing aid settings.
Given that young adults are much more likely to be heavy streamers than other users, they should pay attention to battery life specs. Hearing aids for young adults should be rechargeable and have full direct streaming capabilities without the need to use an additional streaming accessory. They should also look for devices that offer streaming to and from the smartphone of their choice and that allow them to have hands-free conversations. All of this is packed in a device that offers the longest operating time on a single charge while doing heavy streaming during the entire day.
While truly invisible hearing aids may not offer all these features, some nearly invisible devices have top-notch Bluetooth connectivity while also offering long battery life.
The ideal set of features you want on a modern hearing aid include:
- Rechargeability – Avoids changing disposable batteries every few days
- Direct Streaming – To and from your smartphone without the need for an additional accessory
- Hands-Free Calling – Have conversations without the need to speak into your phone
- Long Battery Life – Operate for an entire day on a single charge while doing heavy streaming
- Discreteness – Devices that are small and almost invisible
Having the ability to connect to multiple Bluetooth devices may also be important for some young adults, and users with active lifestyles may also want to consider looking for waterproof devices that can withstand heavy sweating during exercise routines.
You may have to make some feature trade-offs based on your budget and your individual lifestyle and preferences
In summary, hearing aids are essential in addressing the issue of hearing loss. While previously, hearing aids have been associated with aged people, these days, more and more young adults are wearing these devices to treat their hearing loss.
If you suspect you have hearing loss, take action and get a hearing test. Online tests are a good first step as you take action to address your potential hearing loss.
If you have hearing loss, the ideal set of features you want on a modern hearing aid include rechargeability, direct streaming to and from your smartphone, hands-free calling, long battery life and discreteness. You may have to make some feature trade-offs based on your budget and your individual lifestyle and preferences.
The sooner you take action, the better off you will be.
Florida License: AS-2471 – NPI: 1992749147
Ivonne Baixeras is a Florida-Licensed Hearing Instrument Specialist with a track record of almost three decades treating hearing problems in Miami-Dade County and serving the needs of thousands of satisfied patients. Ivonne is a graduate of both Miami-Dade College & Florida International University and worked for many years at the largest national chain of hearing clinics in the US where she's received multiple awards.