This month is Better Hearing and Speech Month! Organized by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), this initiative seeks to raise awareness about communication disorders and solutions that transform health.
Hearing loss is one of the most pervasive medical conditions that people navigate today. Impacting nearly 48 million people, hearing loss is the third most common chronic medical condition that older adults experience. Not only does it significantly affect communication but hearing loss impacts relationships, job performance, social life and overall health.
This year’s theme for Better Hearing and Speech Month is Building Connections, which focuses on expanding access to the knowledge and resources needed to take action. Treating hearing loss is empowering and improves health, wellness and quality of life.
Hearing Loss Symptoms & Impact
Hearing loss can be caused by a variety of factors including existing medical conditions, environmental exposure to loud noise, genetic history, aging and head injuries. These factors reduce one’s ability to absorb and process sound which produces a range of symptoms including the following:
- Tinnitus: a buzzing, ringing, clicking like noise in one or both ears
- Increasing the volume on electronic devices (TV, speaker, laptop etc.)
- Sounds are muffled or slurred making it challenging to distinguish words
- Frequently asking others to repeat themselves, speak louder, and/or slowly
- Difficulty hearing in environments with background noise and in conversations with multiple people
- Ability to hear better in one ear compared to the other
These symptoms can be experienced mildly to severely and can disrupt daily life. Symptoms strain communication, making it challenging to complete tasks and manage responsibilities. Difficulty navigating conversations can also lead to social withdrawal. Avoiding social settings and interaction means spending less time with family and friends. Not only does this impact relationships but also mental health. Untreated hearing loss increases the risk of depression as well as other medical conditions including cognitive decline.
Important Hearing Health Services
Treating hearing loss alleviates symptoms and maximizes hearing capacity. This reduces the risk of experiencing other adverse health outcomes and has countless benefits. Being able to navigate independently and communicate with ease strengthens relationships, boosts confidence, enhances social life and overall well-being.
There is a range of hearing health services that we provide to effectively identify and meet your hearing needs. This includes the following:
- Hearing Test: The first step in addressing hearing loss is to schedule an appointment for a hearing test. This noninvasive process consists of a discussion of your hearing concerns, ear inspection, hearing test, and a thorough review of your results. Hearing tests are painless and identify any impairment, the degree, and specific type of hearing loss you could be experiencing. Your results are tracked on an audiogram which visually represents your hearing capacity. We will discuss the sounds you may experience difficulty in hearing and processing, in addition to the specifics for both ears. Once your hearing needs are established, we offer effective treatment solutions to meet those needs. The most common treatment for hearing loss is hearing aids, which are electronic devices that are designed to absorb, amplify, and process sound. This provides significant hearing support, enabling people to navigate environments more easily and with greater awareness.
- Hearing Device Fitting: If you have a hearing loss, we provide recommendations for the type of hearing device that could work best for you. After selecting your hearing aids, we will schedule a follow-up appointment for a fitting. During the fitting, we ensure that the devices fit comfortably and program them so that the settings meet your hearing needs and preferences. We also walk you through how to use and care for the devices in addition to utilizing the features and technologies with which they come.
- Tinnitus Treatment: We also provide effective strategies to manage tinnitus and alleviate its impact in daily life. Tinnitus is one of the most common underlying symptoms of hearing loss. It can be severe enough that it impacts daily activities like sleep. By prioritizing your hearing health, providing individualized care, and establishing solutions; we are able to address tinnitus in helpful ways.
These ongoing services are part of the suite of services we provide to transform your hearing health. Take the first step this Better Hearing and Speech Month by contacting us today!