February 26, 2024

Add Improved Hearing To Your New Year’s Health Goals!

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What will you do in 2022?! Pick up a new hobby? Start an exercise routine? Connect to old friends and family more? It is important to remember that if you are having hearing issues, all these goals will be more difficult to achieve.

In the US, it is estimated that 15% of adults 18 years of age and older report having some trouble with their hearing. This equals around 48 million people or 1 in 8, making hearing loss more common than we might expect. If you suspect that you might have even a slight hearing loss, don’t let another year go by letting it progress to a point where it can start to impede your relationships or your success at work. Check an item off your list early this year by scheduling a hearing test!

Why is it Important to Screen for Hearing Loss Early?

Hearing loss does not have to be a big part of your life if you treat it early. The most common treatment is hearing aids. These amazing electronic devices amplify the sounds you struggle with so you can participate in conversations and feel more alert in the space around you. Many people are resistant to the idea because it means accepting a disability or emulates the stigma of old age. However, there is nothing that will age you faster than living with untreated hearing loss. The benefits of treating hearing loss early are numerous. An untreated hearing impairment can impede learning, cause social anxiety, and even lead to cognitive decline and early dementia.

Back to School

It’s never too late to go back to school. Maybe this year you finally are ready to get a degree or start training for a brand-new career. Treating hearing loss can make navigating an educational environment a little less challenging! No need to struggle to follow lectures or hear your peers during group discussions. This can make it all too easy to become lost and discouraged, stopping your dream of a new career before it has a chance to progress. Being open about your hearing loss not only stops the stigma around hearing loss for others but allows you to start asking for the accommodations to succeed in an educational setting.

In the Workplace

If you already have a career you love, you most likely want to advance and continue to grow in this next year. However, with untreated hearing loss, 2022 can become a frustrating year. Unaddressed hearing loss can make it difficult to follow directions, present information clearly, and understand what is happening in large meetings without asking a lot of questions. Co-workers and employers often notice, and this comes with lots of promotions, raises, and lost job opportunities. Hearing loss is recognized as a disability under the American Disabilities Act, and this comes with protections in the workplace. However, you need to be aware and open about a hearing loss to receive this protection. This is just one more reason to make sure to monitor your hearing loss annually and stay active around treatment.

Rescue Your Relationships

The people in your life can unintentionally mistake an undiagnosed hearing loss for disinterest in them. Instead of identifying it as a disability that needs to be addressed, it may come across as you are distracted, or disinterested in what they are saying. This can put a strain on relationships between friends and family. Even your most intimate relationships are at risk when you live with untreated hearing loss for too long. Tiny misunderstandings build up into a big deal. Constantly asking to pass the salt when the other hears “this is your fault” can add up to conflicts which could be easily avoided with the use of hearing aids. Other common conflicts include struggles over the volume of the TV. It may feel fine to you, while it is very loud for others. Nightly conflicts like this add up, leaving people feeling isolated and chronically depressed. Hearing aids can give you a chance to heal these relationships or stop a miscommunication before it adds up into years of resentment.

Resolve to Monitor Your Hearing

Make this year’s first resolution to schedule a hearing test. It can’t hurt to do this every year and get on top of the problem before it can start. Start by scheduling a hearing test now!

Dr. Teague earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Hearing, Speech and Language from Ohio University and his Doctoral Degree in Audiology from The University of Louisville. He is an active member of the American Academy of Audiology and the Ohio Board of Audiology.

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