February 26, 2024

New Year's Resolution: Get Your Hearing Tested

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The New Year has come and with it often comes a new set of resolutions to better your life and reach for goals you’ve always dreamed of. If you really want to make to best on your new year’s resolutions it’s important to have your health in order. Hearing loss happens. In fact, hearing loss is the third most common chronic physical condition in the United States, and is more prevalent than diabetes or cancer.

Hearing loss: a national problem

The incidence of hearing loss increases with age. With approximately one third of Americans between ages 65 and 74 and nearly half of those over age 75 have hearing loss. Sadly, only 20% of those individuals who might benefit from treatment actually seek help.

It is all too common to delay treatment for most people until they cannot communicate even in the best of listening situations. On average, hearing aid users wait over 10 years after their initial diagnosis to be fit with their first set of hearing aids. Don’t be a part of this statistic. Hearing loss is very treatable – and more successful when treatment is started early. If you suspect you have hearing loss use the start of this new years as a great time to find out for sure the status of your hearing. The risks of not treating your hearing loss, is a risk that no one can afford.

Untreated hearing loss increases your chances of falling

People 65 or older commonly fall and these falls often result in emergency room visits, broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, hospitalizations or even death. Even a mild degree of hearing loss triples the risk of an accidental fall. Hearing loss makes people less aware of their environment, so they don’t notice other people, pets or activities swirling around them.

In addition, hearing loss can decrease spatial awareness, so being able to gauge where their body is in relation to objects around them gets trickier. Hearing loss causes the brain to use more resources for hearing and interpreting speech and sound, so fewer resources go toward balance. These factors can all make people with hearing loss more likely to lose their balance and fall.

Untreated hearing and depression and social isolation

Untreated hearing loss has serious emotional and social consequences for older persons, according to a major new study by The National Council on the Aging. The survey found that seniors with untreated hearing loss who did not wear hearing aids reported feelings of sadness or depression that lasted two or more weeks during the previous years. Among respondents with more severe hearing loss, 30 percent of non-users of hearing aids reported depression, compared to 22 percent of hearing aid users. This sadness can affect your cherished relationships with family, friends and effect your performance in the work place, ultimately impacting your earnings.

Untreated hearing loss and dementia

Scientists are finding more and more evidence that trouble with hearing makes you more likely to go on to have dementia, a condition marked by memory loss and trouble with thinking, problem-solving, and other mental tasks. That doesn’t mean that people with hearing loss (about two-thirds of adults over 70) are guaranteed to have dementia -- simply that the odds are higher.

Hearing loss and diabetes

The relationship between hearing loss and diabetes has long been debated. But research now concludes that hearing loss is more prevalent in adults with diabetes. The connection isn’t completely clear, but researchers are finding that people with diabetes were two times more likely to have hearing loss than people without and that people who are pre-diabetic are 30% more likely to have hearing loss.

Test your hearing for the New Year

Hearing loss is often first noticed by a family member. That’s because most hearing loss happens, so gradually the affected person doesn’t notice it. Contact us at Hearing Consultants to set up a hearing test in the New Year. The assessment usually takes less than an hour. The thought of hearing loss can be scary but it’s better to know what you are dealing with so we can help you find the best hearing aids for your lifestyle and help you get back on track to focus on the things in your life that really matter to you 2020.

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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