May is Better Hearing Month

During Better Speech and Hearing Month, organizations work to raise awareness about communication disorders, which are more common than people might think. According to a recent issue of CDC Vital Signs, “Hearing loss is the third most common chronic health condition in the US. Almost twice as many people report hearing loss as report diabetes or cancer.” However, “about 1 in 4 US adults who report excellent to good hearing already have hearing damage”.

Even though hearing loss is a common problem experienced by many, many are not aware of the problem, and its causes, solutions, and preventative measures. This year’s theme for Better Speech and Hearing Month is “Communication: The Key to Connection”. The theme itself points out why raising awareness and educating the public about hearing loss is so important; people connect with loved ones, co-workers, friends, their community, and the world around them through communication. When a person’s ability to communicate is damaged, so is their ability to connect. Hearing loss is much more than a physical problem; if left untreated, it can lead to problems in many other areas of life. It can put a strain on relationships, discourage you from doing the things you love, it can affect your work and your income, and your emotional well-being.

Much more is at stake than your hearing- your quality of life is in danger.

Better Speech and Hearing Month is for everyone. For those who already suffer from hearing loss, awareness can help encourage them to seek help from an audiologist. For those who don’t, awareness can encourage them to take action now to prevent future damage to their hearing. Take this quick quiz to see if you should see an audiologist. If you find yourself doing some of these things, it’s probably time to make an appointment with an audiologist. You may be surprised by how much better your quality of life is.

Causes
The American Academy of Audiology has some great fact sheets available to promote Better Speech and Hearing Month. Their hearing loss fact sheet lists some of the causes, which includes aging, ear infections and diseases, trauma, illness, certain medications, and damage from foreign objects (like cotton swabs). The most common cause, however, is exposure to excessive loud noise (noise-induced hearing loss fact sheet). Of the many Americans with hearing loss, one in three have developed it as a result of exposure to noise. You may encounter harmful sounds without even realizing it. Many people are exposed to loud noises at work, at home, and during recreational activities, and it’s important to know which ones can lead to permanent damage. Click here to find out which common noises are harmful and other information about noise-induced hearing loss.

Protection and Prevention
Awareness is only the first step. The next is action. Now that you are aware of the causes of hearing loss, you can protect your hearing in the following ways:
– Wear protection when exposed to harmful noises for extended periods of time- earplugs, muffs, or custom devices from your audiologist.
– Turn down the volume
– Walk away from loud noise
– Don’t put things in your ear – break the habit of swabbing your ears- ear wax is normal, and healthy!

A testimonial from one of Center for Hearing’s patients, Tricia Westbrooks, says it all; “I always thought my hearing was ok, but my family told me it wasn’t! I had my hearing checked and sure enough I was a candidate for hearing help! When I first walked out of the office with my new Oticons I cried when I heard the birds chirping in the bushes!”

You may not be aware of how much you’re actually missing out on when you neglect your hearing health. When hearing declines, so do many other areas of your life- so act now and take the necessary steps, whether that means looking into ear protection, or making an appointment with your audiologist. No matter your age, occupation, or lifestyle, there is a way to protect and/or improve your hearing and an audiologist can help find one that is perfect for you.

May is a month of awareness, and for Center for Hearing, it’s also a month of appreciation. The staff wants to make sure all of their patients know just how special they are, so on May 17th and 18th, Center for Hearing will host an open house event celebrating Patient Appreciation Days.