How can we celebrate our health in the merry month of May? The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association of America (ASHA) is advocating the importance of sustaining hearing health as we progress from infancy to adulthood. Valuable resources and access to information regarding symptoms to treatments are part of the focus of the campaign. Most importantly, the vitality of our hearing as we age requires vigilance, preventative care, and monitoring.
Why is this hearing loss important?
Hearing loss is a slow and invisible decline that manifests itself in debilitating ways. From the earliest years to adulthood to our later years, the effects of noise pollution, stress, and heredity amongst many other factors have an accumulative effect on our ability to hear well. During this month of May, let us learn to stay on top of our hearing health game and continue to do so at every stage of our lives.
Prevalence and signs of hearing decline
According to the NIDCD (National Institute on Deafness and Other Communicative Disorders), close to 30 million Americans could benefit from hearing aids but they are unequipped. Hearing loss is in the top three major health concerns for the US. The public needs to be consistently informed and have access to information and tools to help themselves sustain their hearing health. It is unfortunate that when signs of the decline of our hearing are recognized, it is often after permanent damage has already been done.
Some common signs exhibit themselves in social situations when there is trouble distinguishing speech from noise or difficulties participating in conversations within groups in social situations. The need to gradually increase the volume on our audio devices or listen at a higher volume than others when watching a movie or TV are also indications of the slow decline of hearing. Others occur in instances when important nuances or details are missed in a business conversation on the telephone or in person.
What can we do on a daily basis?
The good news is that being aware of our surroundings and practicing ways to prohibit and minimize detrimental exposure can combat permanent hearing loss. Did you know that anything over 85 decibels (units that sound is measured in) over a certain period of time can cause harm?
What do 85 decibels sound like? It is comparative to that of the hum of a lawn mower or a food blender. The louder and more explosive the sound the faster and more damaging it is to our ears. For example, fireworks, gunshots, motorbikes, and jackhammers. Practice simple maneuvers to avoid harmful sounds, for instance, moving away from the area if possible.
Use earplugs if you know you will be in a loud and noisy area for a while because it is part of your work, home or social environment. Stay fit, manage your stress and get regular check-ups. Every little bit counts!
How do we benefit from hearing treatment?
The connection between ones hearing loss to social isolation and depression are established.
If we invest in our hearing by getting screened and getting the correct treatment one of the first things we can look forward to is a fuller hearing experience. Another is the ability to socialize with more confidence, to speak to our loved ones again with fewer arguments and miscommunications. Whether it is age, heredity or environment, the toll of hearing loss can range from cognitive decline to reduced work productivity. Picture your hearing health as an integral part of your overall health.
What are our options?
A professional hearing test is a good beginning. Treatments are based upon the needs of the individual and your primary care physician, audiologist or hearing instrument specialist often work in tandem to design the best course of action. Depending on your needs it is comforting to know that hearing loss doesn’t have to continue to inhibit your life. There are many tools at our disposal such as cochlear implants, hearing, assistive and alerting devices to telephones with captions and messaging services to hearing apps on our mobile devices.
Embrace technology and the continued progress that it offers us.
Advanced Hearing Solutions
Start caring for your hearing health this May by contacting us as the first step towards your continued hearing health. We look forward to helping you or a loved one begin your journey to a fuller, healthier hearing experience now and for the future.