Skip to content

The ability to hear and communicate effectively impacts all aspects of your life including relationships, success in school and work, and overall quality of life. Hearing loss is the third-most common chronic health condition for adult Americans (National Center for Health Statistics, 2012). Hearing loss can occur at any age. Although hearing loss might occur suddenly, it most often develops over several years or decades. Some of the reasons for changes in hearing include aging, use of some types of medications, exposure to loud sounds, serious infections, accidents, and others. 

Although most hearing loss in adults is permanent, some types of hearing loss are medically treatable or surgically correctable. The most common treatment for permanent hearing loss in adults is hearing aids; however, only a fourth of those who can benefit from a hearing aid use one. Most individuals wait about seven years to investigate treatment options after they begin to suspect having a hearing problem. Reasons for waiting include not thinking that the hearing loss is bad enough to need attention, not knowing what services are available, concern over cost, the social stigma of hearing loss, and a lack of self-awareness.

The American Academy of Audiology has developed an in-depth resource for adults who are experiencing hearing loss.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Types of Hearing Loss
    • Table 1: Types of Hearing Loss
  • Signs of Hearing Loss: Myths and Facts 
  • Seeking Care: Who Are Audiologists?
    • Table 2: Providers of Hearing Care
  • Types of Hearing Devices
  • Financial Considerations Related to Hearing Health Care and Devices
  • Consideration for Using Hearing Aids
  • Over-the-Counter (OTC) Hearing Aids
  • Tips for Successful Management of Adult Hearing Loss

View/download the full “Guide to Adult Hearing Care” (PDF)

Scroll To Top