You could blame the use of headphones and ear buds for what is being called an epidemic of hearing loss among Americans. There are other factors, too.
Houston ENT Dr. James Liu says the predominant problem is the loss of high-frequency hearing, found among men.
“They say, well, my wife and kids say I can't hear them, but I hear my drinking buddy just fine,” Dr. Liu says. “Well, that's because your drinking buddy is a male and he speaks in a lower pitch. You can hear that better.”
About one-in-three Americans over 40 have some level of hearing disability and it may be worse than that.
“The amount of hearing loss we have here in the United States is under-diagnosed,” says the doctor, “just because people don't think about getting a hearing test -- but they should.”
Hearing can affect balance, meaning more falls. It can also cause depression and cognitive problems -- possibly Alzheimer's disease.