Laurel Donaldson is an audiologist at OSF Healthcare’s Illinois Neurological Institute. She explains how hearing loss is becoming a silent epidemic. Hearing loss doesn’t only affect older people. The Journal of Pediatrics reports 12.5 percent of kids between the ages of six and 19 have hearing loss from listening to loud music, particularly through earbuds at unsafe volumes. The longer a person has uncorrected hearing loss, the greater the risk to the brain of losing the ability to translate the sound of someone talking into comprehensible speech. Hearing loss that continues as we age also leads to other health issues such as depression and hospital-related admissions due to falls