Happy New Year! Happy hearing to you and your loved ones! This year, as we resolve to continually attend to our health needs, let’s make our hearing a priority. How and why should we do so?
Let’s first become familiar with some general statistics about hearing health and how important is for people of all ages! In the US, hearing health has become a national priority and concern lagging behind diabetes and cancer and considered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as the “third most chronic physical condition in the United States”. Here are three more important pieces of information listed by the CDC:
- During 2001–2008, an estimated 30 million Americans older than 12 years had hearing loss in both ears. An estimated 48 million had hearing loss in at least one ear.
- Those who have hearing loss are more likely to have low employment rates, lower worker productivity, and high healthcare costs. Hearing-impaired adults are more likely to have low income and be unemployed or underemployed than adults with normal hearing.
- Nationally, the total cost of first-year hearing loss treatment is projected to multiply five-fold between 2002 and 2030, from $8.2 billion to $51.4 billion.
Now, statistics aside, how does this resonate in your life and your choices for the New Year? We all have heath goals and programs that we try to follow as best we can to maintain an active and engaging life. It is common practice for us to follow up with yearly annual exams and our hearing should be as important a part of that as anything else.
An easy, fast screening will be the first determining step towards the need for a comprehensive testing. The “tone-test” administered to children and adults alike, is quick with minimal stress for anyone to undergo. The screening (information of locations available via your local health department), consisting of a simple pass or fail, will let you know if a more extensive exam is required.
Comprehensive Hearing Tests
You’ve gotten to the next step and a comprehensive test is suggested. This is good news because early detection of any possible anomalies is the best form of prevention of future hearing issues. This also offers you the chance to get to know your hearing health professional better and create a communicative relationship with them. Being honest about your lifestyle needs and your activities allows them to administer the correct tests and configure programs best suited to your hearing requirements.
After an in-depth assessment of your hearing, they are better able to guide you through the use of relevant hearing devices, budgetary needs and daily practices required to maintain and sustain your auditory health. For further information on what services an audiologist can and should provide check out this page provided by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) https://www.asha.org/public/
Symptoms of Hearing Loss
Below are some of the common symptoms that should alert us and keep us proactive in keeping our hearing health in check.
- Difficulty in identifying the difference between certain consonant sounds in speech such as p vs. t, th vs. sh, or s vs. f.
- Straining to understand speech when there is noisy background.
- Straining to understand speech over the mobile phone.
- Unable to identify sounds with a high pitch.
- Constantly asking people to repeat what they have just said.
Your closest friends and family members would the first ones to consult as well for any input on any hearing decline you might be manifesting. Often, they are the first ones to notice and a good source of support if you need it for your trip to a hearing health professional.
Benefits of Treating Hearing Loss
Your interactions and communications with those around you play a large part in your cognitive health as well. If hearing impairment is neglected, activities involving friends, sports, socializing and professional work relationships are all affected. The art of keeping our mental health sharp is to maintain engaging physical and cerebral connections. Once ignored or if pulled into seclusion our emotional well-being suffers as well.
Desert Valley Audiology
Start your year in the right way and pay attention to your hearing needs! The team at Desert Valley Audiology are excited to hear from you or someone you care about. You are only one call away from incorporating auditory health into your overall program of wellness. We welcome any questions you might have and how we may guide you on track to a richer hearing life is our goal.