According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics, life expectancy in the USA has risen to an average of 78.8 years – with better news for women, who can expect to live to an average of 81.2 years.

As with any statistic, there is obviously a significant variance depending on genetics, luck, lifestyle factors, good preventative medical care and swift treatment if and when issues do arise.

At SunGate Medical Group, we look after many people of all ages. One important factor for all our patients is not just length of life but quality of life. One aspect of aging which is a problem for many people – and their families – which is how well we hear as we age.

Our new audiologist, Dr. Tracey E. Herrin, offers great insight into this common problem. Dr. Herrin earned a Doctorate of Audiology in 2013 from Texas Tech University and recently joined us from Dr. Hecker and Associates, a practice in Newport News, Va.

She has a passion for diagnosing and treating hearing and balance disorders and is committed to listening to her patients.

Dr. Herrin provided some shocking statistics from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.

For example, did you know that:

  • Approximately 15 percent of American adults (37.5 million) aged 18 and over report some trouble hearing.
  • Men are more likely than women to report having hearing loss.
  • About 2 percent of adults aged 45 to 54 have disabling hearing loss, increasing to 8.5 percent for adults aged 55 to 64, 25 percent of those aged 65 to 74, and 50 percent of those who are 75 and older.
  • Among adults aged 70 and older with hearing loss who could benefit from hearing aids, fewer than one in three (30 percent) has ever used them.

Dr. Herrin reinforced that what might seem “normal” hearing for an individual is frequently far from optimum. She reports that many of her patients wish they had sought testing and advice sooner.

If hearing loss is a concern of yours, contact an audiologist and find out what solutions might be available for you.

Be well.

Kenneth D. Farr, MD, founder and medical director of the SunGate Medical Group, is certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology and a fellow of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.