Health Plus: Iowans under 65 fastest growing group with hearing - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Health Plus: Iowans under 65 fastest growing group with hearing loss

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

If you think only senior citizens need hearing aids, you're wrong: The fastest-growing group of people with hearing loss is under 65.

At 51, Kent Reinking never planned to need hearing aids.

But decades of exposure to noisy farm equipment permanently damaged his hearing.

"I didn't think it was that bad, but the rest of my family -- they were the ones that informed me I needed to get something accomplished so that I could hear what was going on," he said.

The Oelwein man's audiologist at Hearing Unlimited in Waterloo's Covenant Medical Center says more young people are experiencing hearing loss.

"People avoid it for a very long time. Most people wait eight years before they do something about their hearing loss," said Dr. Seema Arab. "A majority of people that have hearing loss are actually under 65."

Arab says the effectiveness of hearing aids depends on a lot more than simply buying a pair.

"Average life is five years for a hearing aid," she said. "There's a lot of service involved, so you always want to go to somewhere that's close to you to adjust them and clean them. They're all digital now, so we can adjust for a lot of situations. The technology is amazing. They pretty much do all the work for them."

For Kent, the difference is life changing.

"It makes a huge difference in my world," he said. "I do not wear them as much as I should, I'll tell you that, but when I do wear them it makes a tremendous difference."

Hearing loss is the third most common physical condition in the U.S., after arthritis and heart disease.

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