7 Things To Know About Hearing Loss

Written by the Nano Hearing Aids Team
Reviewed for Accuracy by Lindsay Roberts, AuD.

Lindsay Roberts
7 Things To Know About Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is a serious health condition that can negatively impact your quality of life if left untreated. Below are important things you should know about hearing loss and how you or a loved one might benefit from OTC hearing aids.

7 Things To Know About Hearing Loss

Approximately 48 Million

1. Approximately 48 Million Americans Experience Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is a widespread issue, with an estimated 48 million Americans experiencing some degree of hearing loss. It can impact people of all ages and backgrounds.

2. There are Three Types of Hearing Loss

Hearing loss can be categorized into three types:

conductive hearing loss

conductive hearing loss

(related to ear canal or middle ear problems)

sensorineural hearing loss

sensorineural hearing loss

(damage to the inner ear or auditory nerve)

mixed hearing loss

mixed hearing loss

(a combination of both)

3. It Can Develop Gradually Over Time Or Suddenly

Hearing loss can occur gradually due to:

  • Aging
  • Repeated loud noise exposure or medical conditions
  • It can also happen suddenly due to factors like trauma or infections.
Develop Gradually Over Time Or Suddenly

4. Age is the Strongest Predictor of Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is most common among older adults due to the natural aging process, which can lead to inner ear damage and decreased hearing sensitivity. Additionally, older men are twice as likely to experience hearing loss compared to older women.

5. Severe Hearing Loss is Different Than Mild to Moderate Hearing Loss

The severity of hearing loss can vary.

Some people might experience severe hearing loss which includes:

  • having difficulty hearing loud noises
  • difficulty hearing conversations in quiet environments
  • frequently reading lips in an attempt to understand what is being said.

Individuals with perceived mild to moderate hearing loss might feel:

tired from listening

tired from listening


find it difficult to follow conversations

difficulty hearing conversations

have difficulty hearing conversations in noisy settings (among other symptoms)

Hearing Aids

6. Hearing Aids Can Significantly Improve Hearing Loss

Hearing aids are devices designed to amplify sounds and improve hearing for those with hearing loss. It’s estimated that 28.8 million U.S. adults could benefit from using hearing aids.

7. OTC Hearing AIds Do Not Require a Prescription or Doctor’s Visit

Over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids make it possible for individuals to purchase them without a prescription or doctor's visit. An OTC hearing aid offers more accessibility for those with perceived mild to moderate hearing loss. They also tend to be much more affordable than hearing aids requiring a prescription.

OTC Hearing AIds

Signs of Hearing Loss

There are many possible signs of hearing loss. Specific examples can include:

  • Difficulty Understanding Speech in Noisy Environments
  • Frequently Asking People To Repeat Themselves
  • Turning Up the Volume
  • Avoiding Social Situations
  • Tinnitus
  • Muffled Words
  • Feeling Tired or Stressed From Having To Concentrate While Listening

Hearing loss can range from mild and moderate to severe.

You might have severe hearing loss if you have the below symptoms:

  • Difficulty hearing loud noises, even in quiet environments
  • Difficulty hearing conversations
  • You might find yourself reading lips as a result of your hearing loss
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)

You might have perceived mild to moderate hearing loss if you experience any of the below:

  • Trouble hearing conversations in noisy places and with a lot of background noise or loud sounds
  • Difficulty hearing someone on the phone
  • Feeling tired from listening
  • Finding it difficult to follow conversations and hear people in group settings
  • Needing to turn up the volume on the TV or radio, even if others say that it’s loud

Types of Hearing Loss

There are three main types of hearing loss, which can be categorized as either sensorineural, conductive, or mixed.

  • Sensorineural Hearing Loss: This occurs when the inner ear or auditory nerve is damaged and can be permanent. It can be caused by aging, genetics, noise exposure, medications, or medical conditions.
  • Conductive Hearing Loss: Conductive hearing loss occurs when there are problems in the middle ear or outer ear that block sound waves from traveling to the inner ear. This can be caused by ear infections, earwax buildup, structural issues within the ear, or ear canal obstructions.
  • Mixed Hearing Loss: This is a combination of sensorineural hearing loss and conductive hearing loss. Specifically, it occurs when there is both inner ear/nerve damage and issues in the outer or middle ear.
Types of Hearing Loss

Living with Hearing Loss

Living with hearing loss can negatively impact a person’s life if left untreated. Below are some specific areas of life that can be affected:

Communication with Others

Communication with Others

Hearing loss can make it difficult to understand conversations and therefore communicate with others.



Relationships with family and friends can become strained due to miscommunication or frustration when others must repeat themselves frequently.

Emotional Well-being

Emotional Well-being

Increased stress, anxiety, and depression might occur as a result of feeling disconnected and misunderstood in social and professional settings.

Work and Career

Work and Career

Reduced job opportunities or limitations in specific professions that require clear communication can occur.



It could become difficult to hear important auditory cues. This can include sirens, alarms, or approaching vehicles, leading to potential accidents.

Cognitive Function

Cognitive Function

Cognitive decline could occur in older individuals with untreated hearing loss due to the increased cognitive load required to process sounds.



Someone living with untreated hearing loss could experience difficulty in school, particularly children or young adults, as they might miss important information during lectures or have difficulty participating in classroom discussions.



Difficulty with tasks that rely on auditory cues, like crossing busy streets or running various errands, can limit their freedom and independence.

Quality of Life

Quality of Life

There might be a reduced enjoyment of music, nature sounds, or other auditory experiences that contribute to their overall quality of life.



Increased feelings of loneliness and isolation can occur due to difficulties in maintaining meaningful social connections.

Mental Health

Mental Health

A person living with hearing loss might experience an increased risk of developing mental health conditions like depression and anxiety as a result of the challenges of hearing loss (when left untreated).

When To See a Doctor For Hearing Loss

It’s important to seek treatment and schedule an appointment with a doctor if you suspect you might have severe hearing loss. Your doctor will examine your ear canal, ear drum, middle ear, and outer ear to rule out any physical issues affecting your hearing (such as earwax or an ear infection). They will also conduct a hearing test. Based on the results, your doctor can determine if your hearing loss is severe and what the next steps should be for treatment.

However as mentioned, if you have perceived mild to moderate hearing loss, a visit to the doctor or hearing specialist isn’t necessary. Whether you have age related hearing loss, noise induced hearing loss, or hearing loss due to other reasons, you can purchase OTC hearing aids online if you have perceived mild to moderate hearing loss and are 18 years old or older.

When To See a Doctor For Hearing Loss

The Process For OTC Hearing Aids vs. Prescription Hearing Aids

The process to buy OTC hearing aids is convenient, fast, and easy. They’re much more affordable than prescription hearing aids and don’t involve any professional testing or exams, saving you money in the long run. They are also regulated by the FDA and safe to use if you have perceived mild to moderate hearing loss. To buy prescription hearing aids, you simply need to determine if you have difficulty hearing conversations in loud environments, have trouble hearing on the phone, or find yourself turning up the TV volume frequently even when others tell you it’s loud - if any of these apply, you might have mild to moderate hearing loss, and you can begin shopping for hearing aids online.

Prescription hearing aids are intended for those with severe hearing loss. The process of getting them is much more complicated since it requires a doctor’s visit and hearing tests. It’s also common to need multiple follow-up appointments to have the hearing aids fitted properly. Overall, the costs for prescription hearing aids can be quite expensive.

How To Talk To Someone About Hearing Loss

Discussing hearing loss with a loved one or friend can be a difficult conversation. Below are some helpful tips for how to talk to someone about hearing loss.

  • Choose The Right Environment: Find a quiet space to speak so that the person can clearly understand you, while also making sure it’s a private environment.
  • Express Your Concern For Their Well-Being: Try starting the conversation by saying something similar to, “Your well-being is important to me, and I’ve noticed you’ve been experiencing difficulty hearing lately. I want to make sure you have the support and resources you need to stay safe and connected to your friends and family.”
  • Be Supportive: When speaking with your friend or loved one, be empathetic and understanding about their situation. Losing the ability to hear can be frustrating and an emotional process for many people. Let them know you are there to help them.
  • Share Examples: Consider sharing some specific examples of times when you’ve noticed they have had difficulty hearing. This could include saying, “I’ve noticed last week at lunch you needed me to repeat myself a few times,” or “I’ve noticed you need to frequently turn the TV volume up.”
  • Avoid Blame: Hearing loss can be due to a variety of reasons, from genetics to age, medications, and more. Avoid placing blame on the individual for experiencing hearing loss. Focus on helping them find a solution.
  • Share Solutions: Share information with them about the various causes of hearing loss and the treatments available, such as OTC hearing aids.
  • Listen To What They Say: It’s very important during the conversation to listen to what they say, enabling them to share their feelings, concerns, and needs.
How To Talk To Someone About Hearing Loss

Common Myths and Misconceptions

There are many misconceptions about hearing loss. It’s important to understand what is true and what is false about hearing loss. Some of the most common myths and misconceptions include:

Myth #1: Hearing loss only results from exposure to loud noises.

Fact: While loud noises are a common cause of hearing loss, other factors such as genetics, aging, medications, and medical conditions can contribute to it.

Myth #2: Hearing aids cannot restore my hearing.

Fact: Hearing aids are proven to be effective at improving hearing. Many people might even experience normal hearing while wearing the devices.

Myth #3: Hearing loss doesn't impact mental and emotional health.

Fact: Hearing loss can affect a person's emotional well-being and cognitive function. It's associated with an increased risk of depression, anxiety, and cognitive decline.

Myth #4: Hearing aids only work for individuals with severe hearing loss.

Fact: OTC hearings are accessible devices that can improve the hearing of those with perceived mild to moderate hearing loss, enhancing daily communication and quality of life.

Learn more about common myths and misconceptions.

Nano OTC Hearing Aids For Perceived Mild To Moderate Hearing Loss

Many people with perceived mild to moderate hearing loss have found it beneficial to wear hearing aids that are OTC, as they can be a great solution for improving hearing. These FDA-regulated devices don't need a prescription, hearing exam, or doctor's appointment. They’re designed for self-fitting and use, and you can adjust the volume to suit your specific needs. With Nano OTC hearing aids, you simply pick the best dome size for your ears, turn them on, and put them in. Keep in mind it might take several days or weeks for your ears and brain to get used to them, which is why Nano OTC Hearing Aids come with a 45-day money-back guarantee and free 24/7 lifetime support.

Shop Nano OTC Hearing Aids

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The Process For OTC Hearing Aids vs. Prescription Hearing Aids
Common Myths and Misconceptions Surrounding Hearing Loss and Hearing Aids