Happy 2019! Let’s make this the year that you take charge of your hearing health!
It can be easy to overlook the health of your hearing, especially if you’re not experiencing any troubling symptoms. Children often receive hearing checkups every few months as they develop, while many adults think that hearing loss is a problem that occurs only to very elderly people. However, the truth is that hearing problems begin earlier than middle age, affecting many patients as early as their teenage years.
Self-Screening for Hearing Loss
Do you notice that people are talking to you but have trouble understanding what they are saying? Is it hard for you to hear in restaurants and other places with lots of background noise? Does your family complain that the TV volume is often too loud? Are you exhausted after sustained periods of communication?
If any of these situations sound familiar, you may have hearing loss. The good news is that you are not alone and hearing loss is very treatable, especially with the newest technological advances. Approximately 50 million Americans have some form of hearing impairment. This includes 1 in 5 teenagers and 60% of returning military personnel from overseas.
When to Seek Help for Hearing Loss?
Untreated hearing loss can have negative effects on your health and happiness. Making an appointment to see an audiologist as soon as you suspect hearing loss is very important.
It’s helpful to think of a hearing test as a screening rather than an exam. A hearing screening doesn’t just discover hearing loss, it can uncover many physical and medical issues that you may not have known about, and which may not present any symptoms. Here are some additional reasons to stay on top of your hearing health:
- Serious health concerns: Hearing loss is associated with many health conditions including diabetes, cardiovascular disease and a higher risk of falls.
- Better relationships: Don’t isolate yourself because you have trouble hearing. When you acknowledge your hearing loss, you can take action to improve communication. Turn down the music, request a quiet seat in a restaurant, or just ask somebody to face you directly when speaking. But most of all, seek the guidance of a hearing health specialist to get you back on the road to hearing health.
- Protect your mental acuity: Studies show that those with even mild hearing loss are twice as likely to develop dementia. This likelihood increases with higher degrees of hearing loss. Hearing loss is also linked to accelerated brain tissue loss. Wearing hearing aids has been shown to help alleviate these risks.
- Have more fun: If you know about your hearing loss, you can take advantage of accommodations like open captioned theater performances or free caption readers at your local cinema. Get a hearing aid with a t-coil so you can tap into the sound system of venues with hearing loops. More government buildings, museums and houses of worship are adding hearing loops to their buildings.
- Times are changing: Hearing aid technology improves every year, and prices may begin to come down if the FDA approves new over the counter options. These are technically not hearing aids, but can be effective for people with mild age related hearing loss — the audio equivalent to reading glasses.
If you are Diagnosed with Hearing Loss
If you would benefit from hearing aids, give yourself time to get used to wearing them. Unlike glasses, which correct your vision immediately, hearing aids frequently don’t work perfectly right away. It will take your brain time to adapt to hearing new sounds and background noises.
Seek out support! If you’re the only one in your family or circle of friends with hearing loss, ask your hearing health specialist about local support groups, or search online for a local chapter of the Hearing Loss Association of America. It’s important to connect with someone who understands what you’re going through.
Maintaining your hearing health is just another aspect of continuing to live well physically and mentally, so just as you visit your doctor and other specialists for regular screenings, start the year off right with an annual hearing test, and visit us at Gulf Gate Hearing Aid center for your first appointment.