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Lynn S. Alvord PhD
Hearing Disorders - Adults
This section is not meant to be a comprehensive coverage of adult hearing loss (this site being mainly about vestibular disorders, dizziness or balance problems). This section covers some of the main concepts and misconceptions regarding adult hearing loss.
Adult hearing loss, in contrast to childhood loss, consists mainly of the “sensorineural type”, which is a problem in the neural areas of the hearing mechanism, usually the cochlea, but there may also be a disorder in the auditory nerve beyond the cochlea (VIII cranial nerve tumors). Sometimes there is a problem in the higher neural centers referred to as “auditory processing disorder” or “central auditory processing disorder”, CAPD, causing a problem with the perception or processing of the message.
Misperceptions About Adult Hearing Loss
1) A minority of adults is affected by hearing loss.
Most adults, if they live long enough, will eventually acquire a significant amount of hearing loss, due to aging, noise exposure, disease, or less often, medications. Age itself affects nearly everyone’s hearing to the extent of needing a hearing aid eventually. At age 65, about one-third of patients need a hearing aid.
2) Women are more likely to have a hearing loss than men.
Men are more likely to have hearing loss, possibly due to the greater percentage of men employees being exposed to loud noise at work.