Starting the New Year with health-centered goals is a great way to prioritize your wellness. Hearing health is an integral aspect of overall health that tends to be overlooked. With hearing loss being the third most common chronic medical condition that people navigate today, tending to hear health is important. Kick-off the New Year by scheduling an appointment for a hearing assessment – addressing changes to hearing health early can significantly improve daily life.
Understanding Hearing Loss
Hearing loss impacts an estimated 48 million people. Common causes of hearing loss include:
Aging: also known as presbycusis, age-related hearing loss is common among older adults – half of all adults, 75 and older have hearing loss.
Loud noise: Exposure to loud noise can irreparably damage the hair cells in the inner ear. These sensory cells help the brain process sound waves so we understand what we are hearing.
Medical conditions: numerous medical conditions increase the risk of developing hearing loss. This includes cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and hypertension.
Other causes of hearing loss include head/neck injuries, inner ear disorders, and autoimmune conditions. Because it typically happens gradually over a longer time, incremental changes to hearing can remain unnoticed for quite some time. So there is often a delay in treating hearing loss which can worsen impairment. Common signs of hearing loss include:
Tinnitus: a buzzing or ringing noise in the ears
Sounds are distorted, muffled, slurred
Increasing the volume on the television and other electronic devices
Asking others to speak slower, louder, or repeat themselves
Lip reading to identify words
Missing parts of a conversation, having a difficult time following what is being said
Needing to move to a quieter space to hear better
Hearing more clearly in one ear compared to the other
Recognizing early signs of hearing loss and seeking treatment as early as possible can significantly help the transition into better hearing health.
Benefits of Treatment
Fortunately, there are effective ways that hearing loss is treated. Treatment offers a range of benefits that enhance longevity and quality of life. Major benefits include:
Better communication. Treating hearing loss relieves symptoms that often take a toll on communication. Hearing aids, the most common treatment for hearing loss, help the ears and brain absorb as well as process sound. This maximizes hearing capacity, allowing people to hear and communicate much more easily.
Improves relationships. Strengthened communication improves relationships in a variety of ways. Research shows that people often report feeling unheard or ignored by their loved ones with hearing loss. This highlights that untreated hearing loss impacts others as well, creating tension and frustration in relationships. Treating hearing loss allows people to engage in conversation smoothly and spend quality time with others. This supports intimacy and closeness which helps nurture relationships.
Enriches social life. Hearing aids maximize hearing capacity in all types of environments. This includes social settings where hearing can be difficult due to increased background noise. People can move through social spaces and activities while having conversations with multiple people with greater ease and comfort, supporting an active social life.
Enhances overall health. Untreated hearing loss increases the risk of experiencing related health conditions. Extensive research shows that untreated hearing loss increases the risk of cognitive decline, depression, and accidental injuries. Hearing aids strengthen cognitive functions, decreasing the risk of dementia. Additionally, treatment improves relationships and social life which boosts mental health and wellness. Hearing aids also increase safety by creating greater spatial awareness, decreasing the likelihood of falling and sustaining injuries.
These highlighted benefits can transform daily life by supporting you to be more present, engaged, and feeling well.
Prioritizing Hearing Health in the New Year
Committing to better hearing this New Year can enhance your overall health. Set a goal to take the simple first step: scheduling an appointment for a hearing test. Hearing tests measure hearing capacity and identify any impairment. This involves a painless process that establishes exactly where your hearing is. At our practice, we are committed to effectively diagnosing and treating your hearing needs. We offer comprehensive services and individualized care that is invested in improving your hearing health. Call us today to learn more!