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Resources for coping with hearing loss

Kristin Wells, Doctor of Audiology at John C. Lincoln Health Network, explains more baby boomers have hearing loss than some of the older generations and says hearing loss is avoidable if we protect what hearing we've got.

Hearing aids are often associated with the elderly, but according to the Better Hearing Institute, 65 percent of the 31.5 million Americans with hearing loss are under the age of 65. In fact, one in six Baby Boomers have a hearing problem.

The culprit is often noise exposure: riding motorcycles, target shooting, working in a noisy place, and listening to loud music with headphones are all some of the reasons many Boomers can't hear as well as they used to, said Kristin Wells, an audiologist at North Valley Audiology in Arizona.

"We just live in a noisier world," Wells said.   

Baby Boomers struggling with hearing loss are finding high-tech solutions to help them adapt to life with a hearing aid. NBC's Dr. Nancy Snyderman reports.

But hearing loss can also be spurred by aging, or it may be inherited. Certain medications and diseases such as mumps, kidney disease or diabetes can contribute to hearing loss as well. 

If you think your hearing is on the decline, Wells said, consult an audiologist first.

"Through testing they can determine if it's a nerve-type of hearing loss or a medical-type of hearing loss," she said.

If you do need a hearing aid, new models include Bluetooth compatibility, feedback cancellation, directional microphones and noise reduction. 

Finding the right product is key, Wells said.

"What's right for one person isn't necessarily right for their neighbor."

For more resources and information on hearing loss, including prevention, please visit these websites: 

Mark Turkovich and his wife Tami describe how their life has improved since Mark got hearing aids.