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This month is Better Hearing and Speech Month! This annual initiative is organized by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) to raise awareness about communication disorders and effective solutions. The campaign focuses on hearing loss, one of the most pervasive medical conditions that adults navigate today. Hearing loss impacts nearly 48 million people and is the third most common chronic condition that older adults experience. Though it is common, hearing loss tends to be underdiagnosed. Impairment to hearing typically occurs gradually so it can remain unnoticed for quite some time.
Additionally, people often think that changes to hearing are not serious enough to address immediately which contributes to delay in treatment. Not only can this worsen impairment but also strains communication which has multifaceted effects on daily health and wellness. This year’s theme for Better Hearing and Speech Month is building connections that emphasize connecting to the wealth of resources that can transform your hearing health – here is how you can do that!
Hearing Loss Symptoms & Impact
Hearing loss can be caused by numerous factors including existing medical conditions, environmental exposure to loud noise, genetic history, head injuries, and aging. These factors can damage different parts of the auditory system which is responsible for how we absorb and process sound. This produces a range of symptoms including the following:
- Tinnitus: a buzzing or ringing like noise in one or both ears
- Sounds are muffled or slurred making it difficult to identify individual words
- Increasing the volume on electronic devices
- Asking others to repeat themselves, speak louder, and/or slower
- Ability to hear more clearly in one ear compared to the other
- Difficulty following entire conversations, especially in settings with background noise
These symptoms can be experienced mildly to more profoundly; impacting one’s ability to navigate daily life with ease and comfort. Untreated hearing loss can exacerbate these symptoms, heightening impairment. This can lead to:
- Strained communication: persisting symptoms can make it incredibly challenging to engage in conversations. People with untreated hearing loss have to often exert more energy to try to hear. This can look like reading lips, pretending to hear, asking to repeat something, etc. which can be a draining and unpleasant experience that can lead to miscommunication and frustration.
- Social withdrawal: strained communication can cause people to avoid conversations altogether. This involves skipping out on social activities and spending less time with family and friends. Social withdrawal impacts relationships as well as mental health.
- Impacted health: strained communication and social withdrawal contribute to depression, anxiety, and stress. In addition to impacting mental health, untreated hearing loss increases the risk of cognitive decline and accidental injuries.
Connecting with Hearing Health Services
Treating hearing loss alleviates symptoms and the toll they can take on quality of life. We offer a comprehensive range of services that transform your hearing and overall health. This includes:
- Hearing Test: the first step in treating hearing loss is taking a hearing test. Hearing tests involve a noninvasive and painless process that identifies any impairment, the degree, and specific type of hearing loss you could be experiencing. Our hearing healthcare specialist will guide you through the process and thoroughly discuss your results with you.
- Hearing Aid Fitting: the most common treatment for hearing loss is hearing aids. These medically prescribed electronic devices are designed to absorb, amplify, and process sound which provides significant support. We prioritize your hearing needs and use our expertise to recommend the most effective device to meet your needs and maximize your hearing. During your fitting appointment, we ensure that the device fits comfortably and is programmed to your specific preferences. We also show you how to effectively use and maintain the hearing aid so that it provides long-lasting and quality support.
- Hearing Aid Repairs: we also provide in-house repairs for hearing aids which allows you to conveniently troubleshoot any issues that may come up. Hearing aids are durable devices worn daily so they can be impacted by normal wear and tear. You can easily contact us for repairs that you may need!
- Tinnitus Management: we provide individualized care that is invested in treating your hearing health. This includes offering strategies and treatment options that alleviate tinnitus.
Prioritize your hearing health by contacting us today to schedule an appointment for a hearing test!