Every year, the Month of May is recognized as Better Hearing and Speech Month. This designation doesn’t seem to get a lot of notice outside the world of hearing and speech healthcare, but it should. When you think about it, our hearing often plays a vital role in how we live our lives and interact with the people and things around us. Communicating with others at home, work, or school is an essential part of all of our lives, and nobody should ever be left out due to untreated hearing loss.
A conservative estimate suggests that about 38 million American’s are suffering from some degree of hearing loss, and one in eight people over the age of 12 suffers from severe hearing loss. Hearing loss can, and does, effect people of all ages and backgrounds.
Symptoms of Hearing Loss
- Difficulty hearing people in noisy environments such as a restaurant, shopping mall, in cars, or at the movie theater.
- People seem to “mumble” all the time.
- Family, friends, or colleagues often need to repeat themselves when speaking with you.
- You have trouble hearing people when they are not facing you or are in another room.
- You have trouble following conversations.
- You have ringing, buzzing, or hissing sounds in your ears.
Impact of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss can become a significant impediment to an individual’s life, impacting their social and emotional well-being. The consequences of untreated hearing loss can include:
- Feelings of irritability, anger, and embarrassment
- fatigue, tension, and stress from straining to stay involved with conversations
- avoidance or withdrawal from social situations
- feelings of social rejection and loneliness
- reduced alertness and increased risk to personal safety
- impaired memory and ability to learn new tasks
- reduced job performance and earning power
Who can help?
If you or someone you know is suffering from diminished hearing, it is never too late, or too soon, to take action. The best first step is to consult with an audiologist. Audiologists are the premier providers when it comes to hearing healthcare. Specifically trained in the science of diagnosing and treating hearing loss and balance issues, an audiologist can provide an accurate diagnosis of the degree and type of hearing loss you have and develop a treatment plan designed to meet your specific rehabilitation needs. Depending on the situation, rehabilitation can include hearing aids, auditory training, and counseling on communication and hearing strategies for both you and your family. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to hearing healthcare, but an audiologist can help find the solution to match your unique needs.