Have You Scheduled a Hearing Evaluation?
May is Better Hearing and Speech Month…so now is a good time to schedule an appointment to have your hearing evaluated. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (or NIDCD), almost 20% of American adults report some degree of hearing loss. Hearing loss can range in severity, but even a “mild” loss can have a significant impact on a person’s life. An audiologist is a professional who specializes in hearing healthcare. After doing a hearing evaluation, the audiologist is well-trained in helping an individual understand their hearing loss and make a plan to help reduce the frustrations that may be caused by that loss.
How Does Hearing Loss Occur?
There are many things that may cause hearing loss. The ear is an intricate system, consisting of thousands of cells that are designed to transform sound waves into nerve impulses for the brain (click here for a quick video on how the ear works). Noise exposure is one common cause of hearing loss, since loud noise (especially over prolonged periods of time) can damage those cells…and, unfortunately, the damage is often permanent. Sometimes a person has hearing loss due to genetic factors. Other times, age-related effects begin to cause the hearing to diminish….exactly WHEN those age-related effects begin, though, is highly variable. Quite often, there are a combination of factors that end up affecting how well we hear…which is why it is good to see an audiologist when you first start noticing difficulty, regardless of how old you are!
What Are the Signs of Hearing Loss?
One of the first issues that a person may notice is increased difficulty following conversation in a noisy restaurant (or group situation). While this is a challenge for ANYONE (even with normal hearing, the background noise makes it difficult to hear), a person with hearing impairment has even more difficulty. Another indication that a person may have hearing loss is the volume of the TV or radio. If you set the volume to your preferred level, and others tell you that it’s too loud…schedule an evaluation! Keep in mind that your hearing loss has an effect on others, too…not only because they have to listen to the TV or radio at a higher volume, but because they are often repeating themselves (because you didn’t hear them correctly the first time), or they are repeating OTHERS (have you ever turned to your spouse and asked “What did that person say?”). This constant repetition and functioning as a “translator” can be tiring, frustrating, and downright annoying to friends and family.
Take the Next Step…
For the past several years, Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild has issued a proclamation to Arizona Hearing Specialists recognizing May as “Better Hearing Month” and highlighting our dedication to helping residents of Tucson (and the rest of Southern Arizona) hear their best. The month of May is coming to an end…but we treat EVERY month as “Better Hearing Month”, so take a minute to schedule an appointment and make better hearing a priority in your life.