Did you know that May is Better Hearing and Speech Month? Organized by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), this campaign is all about raising awareness of hearing loss. The theme for 2022 is Connecting People which centers on letting others know about the vast resources and services available to support their hearing health. Hearing loss is one of the most widespread medical conditions that people live with today. Though it is often not as known, hearing loss affects nearly 1 in 6 people (over 48 million). Recognizing symptoms and seeking treatment as early as possible can offer life-changing benefits that transform your health and wellness.
What happens if hearing loss is ignored?
Though hearing loss is the third most common chronic medical condition people experience today, it is often undertreated. Impaired hearing typically occurs gradually so changes to hearing can go unnoticed for quite some time. Additionally, people may still be able to hear just enough, causing them to think that their hearing loss is not that serious. But ignoring hearing loss can have major consequences on your health, relationships, and daily life by:
- Straining communication: untreated hearing loss produces a range of symptoms that make it hard to hear and communicate. Symptoms like tinnitus (ringing sound in the ears), sounds being muffled or distorted, and difficulty identifying words can prevent people from following a conversation. This can easily lead to miscommunication, shortened conversations, and unpleasant interactions.
- Leading to social withdrawal: because conversations are tough to keep up with, people often avoid them altogether. This includes skipping out on social events, spending less time with loved ones, and participating less in favorite activities or hobbies. Social withdrawal contributes to depressive symptoms like loneliness, anxiety, and stress which can take a toll on mental health and wellness,
- Taking a toll on relationships: strained communication and social withdrawal can also take a toll on relationships. Communication is foundational for sustaining healthy connections and untreated hearing loss can reduce the capacity for effective communication. People often report feeling unheard or ignored by loved ones with hearing loss. This can lead to frustration, tension, and distance in relationships.
- Increasing health risks: extensive research shows that untreated hearing loss can contribute to the development of various health issues. This includes increasing the risk of cognitive decline and conditions like Alzheimer’s, depression, as well as accidental injuries.
Treating hearing loss is the most useful way to alleviate symptoms and prevent these outcomes from shaping your daily life.
How can hearing healthcare services help?
Fortunately, there is an abundance of resources and services that are invested in transforming hearing health. There is a range of services that hearing healthcare providers offer that support people on their hearing health journey. This includes diagnosing, treating, and managing hearing health-related conditions and symptoms. Services that you can easily access and benefit from include:
- Hearing tests: this diagnostic tool is a painless and non-invasive way to measure your hearing capacity in both ears. This identifies any hearing loss and the degree of impairment you could be experiencing.
- Hearing aid fitting: hearing aids are the most common treatment for hearing loss. Once your hearing needs are established, your hearing healthcare provider will work closely with you to recommend hearing aids that will best meet your needs. They will also be fitted and programmed to ensure a comfortable fit and optimal settings.
- Tinnitus management: tinnitus is one of the most common symptoms of hearing loss. This service focuses on alleviating tinnitus through a type of sound therapy.
In addition to these services, hearing healthcare providers offer hearing aid technologies, repair services, and ongoing support to ensure the best care for your hearing health.
Prioritize Your Hearing Health with Us
This month is a perfect opportunity to commit to your hearing health. You can do this by taking the first simple step: calling us to schedule an appointment for a hearing consultation. This will allow us to get to know you, learn about your symptoms and concerns, as well as assess your hearing. Treating hearing loss not only strengthens hearing but also enhances communication, relationships, and social life. Contact us today to get started.