Resources at Hebrew SeniorLife

Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is one of the top four health concerns of seniors, just behind hypertension, heart disease and arthritis. Of the four, however, it receives the least amount of attention, despite the fact that hearing loss can have devastating effects on overall health and well-being, says Leesa Burke, M.A., F.A.A., a board-certified audiologist at Hebrew Rehabilitation Center.

An estimated one-third of Americans over the age of 65 and more than half of those 80 or older have significant hearing loss. Yet, few people avail themselves of the treatment options that are available.


The inability to hear speech and/or other sounds loud or clear enough due to damage in one or more parts of the ear


  • Aging
  • Lifetime of noise exposure
  • Viruses
  • Bacterial infection
  • Abnormal bone growth in the ear
  • Ear infections
  • Tumors


  • Difficulty hearing conversation in the presence of background noise
  • Feeling that people are whispering or mumbling
  • Frequent need for conversation to be repeated; saying "what" often
  • Others saying the television is too loud
  • Social withdrawal
  • Tinnutis
  • Hearing better when you use your vision to pick up cues

Risk Factors

  • Age
  • Noise exposure
  • Heredity
  • Certain medications
  • General ear health


  • Hearing test conducted by an audiologist


  • Hearing aids
  • Cochlear implants for those who don't do well with hearing aids
  • Treatment of infection or other medical concerns
  • Assistive listening devices


Assistive listening device - any device other than a hearing aid that helps someone hear in a specific situation.

Audiologist - a specialist trained to identify and evaluate hearing loss, as well as select and fit hearing aids.

Cochlear implant - a surgically implanted device that compensates for damaged or nonworking parts of the inner ear.

Tinnutis - ringing, buzzing or roaring sound in the ears.


Hearing Loss Association of American - 

The information contained on this Web site is intended for general consumer understanding and education. The information is provided as a resource only and is not a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment. Access to the information on this site is voluntary. We advise users to consult their physician or other qualified health-care professional if they have questions regarding personal health and medical conditions. Hebrew SeniorLife expressly disclaims responsibility, and shall have no liability, for any damages, loss, injury or liability whatsoever suffered as a result of your reliance on the information contained on this site.

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