| Tue, Apr 25, 2017 @ 09:00 AM

Understanding Hearing Loss

Posted by Medicare Made Clear

senior-women-dining-at-restaurantHearing loss is a common problem in older adults, especially in men. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), an estimated one-third of people in the United States between the ages of 65 and 74, and close to one-half of those 75 and older have some degree of hearing loss.

Hearing loss can be caused by heredity, disease, trauma, loud noises, or earwax build-up. Some people lose their hearing as they age. Certain medications can also cause hearing loss. Check with your doctor if you notice a problem while taking a medication.

Generally, there are two kinds of hearing loss: Sensorineural hearing loss, which is usually permanent; and Conductive hearing loss, which is caused by earwax build-up, fluid, or a punctured eardrum. This type of loss can usually be restored with medical treatment or surgery.

Do You Have A Hearing Problem? Take This Quiz by NIH Senior Health and Find Out.

  • Do I have a problem hearing on the telephone?
  • Do I have trouble hearing when there is noise in the background?
  • Is it hard for me to follow a conversation when two or more people talk at once?
  • ­­­Do I have to strain to understand a conversation?
  • Do many people I talk to seem to mumble or not speak clearly?
  • Do I misunderstand what others are saying and respond inappropriately?
  • Do I often ask people to repeat themselves?
  • Do I have trouble understanding women and children when they talk?
  • Do people complain that I turn the TV volume up too high?
  • Do I hear a ringing, roaring, clicking, buzzing, or hissing sound a lot?
  • Do some sounds seem too loud?

If you answered “yes” to three or more of these questions, you may have a problem with hearing loss. You should talk to your doctor.

Are Hearing Tests Covered by Medicare?

Original Medicare does not cover routine hearing exams, hearing aids, or exams for fitting hearing aids. However, Medicare Part B covers diagnostic hearing and balance exams if your doctor thinks you may need medical treatment. If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, check with your insurance company. Some plans cover routine hearing exams and hearing aids.

If you think you may have hearing loss, call your doctor today to make an appointment.

For more information, explore MedicareMadeClear.com or contact the Medicare helpline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), TTY 1-877-486-2048.

Resources:

Learn About Different Types of Hearing Aids —NIH Senior Health

What is Hearing Loss?: Learn more about hearing loss—National Institutes of Health

Hearing Aid Coverage Under Medicare: Support the cause by contacting your representative—HearingLoss.org

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