Nationally, the month of May is Better Hearing and Speech Month. Since 1927, hearing and speech communities have come together to raise awareness of why it is important to seek treatment. Today we wanted to focus on the facts about hearing loss and the importance of getting your hearing tested.
Did you know that hearing loss is largely treatable, but it often goes unrecognized and untreated for long periods of time? The American Speech, Language and Hearing Association (ASHA) found that just 20% of those who could benefit from hearing loss seek out treatment. Plus, on average, those that do seek help still wait over 10 years after their initial diagnosis to purchase and use hearing aids.
What causes hearing loss? Hearing loss is caused by many factors. The most common cause of hearing loss is the natural aging process. The percent of those who have hearing loss rises as we age. For example, nearly 25% of adults age 65 to 74 have disabling hearing loss. That percentage increases to 50% for adults 75 years or older according to the National Institutes of Health. Another cause of hearing loss that often goes unnoticed until it is too late is noise. Noised-induced hearing loss happens over time as our ears are exposed repeatedly to loud noises. It is important to remind people of all ages that the risks of noise-induced hearing loss can be minimized if ear protection is worn and volumes such as those from earbuds are turned down. Below is a graphic from the Centers of Disease Control on how loud sounds damage our hearing:
Why is it important to get a hearing test? Hearing well is important to our quality of life and well-being. As hearing loss goes untreated the person affected often withdraws from family and social activities and even excludes themselves from new experiences. This isolation can lead to depression. Also, as our brains work harder to hear, research has found that the brain may shift resources from others functions which can lead to faster cognitive decline and in some cases hearing loss is linked to dementia. A hearing test is actually the first step to discovering the degree of your hearing loss and to determine a course of treatment.
Don’t wait another month to seek treatment for your hearing loss. This May, contact us to schedule your initial hearing test.