Latest posts by Dr. Kevin H. Ivory (see all)
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About 48 million adults report some degree of hearing loss. By the age of 65, 1 in 3 people suffer from hearing loss. In fact, hearing loss is the 3rd most common medical condition, after arthritis and heart disease. Hearing loss at any age, young or old, should not be ignored. For the past 75 years The American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA) has dubbed May as “Better Hearing and Speech Month” It’s a time to raise awareness about communication disorders and available treatment options. This year’s theme is “Communication Across the Lifespan.” It’s important to remind preteens, parents, seniors and professionals that hearing loss typically develops slowly over time, so it is important to form healthy hearing habits early on. At any age in your life it’s important to know the risks and the signs of hearing loss so prevention and treatment can be practiced. Often treatment options for hearing loss can greatly improve the quality of life for patients who experience problems speaking, understanding, or hearing.
Why So Many Delay Treatment for Hearing Loss
Hearing loss often develops gradually so it can be easy to ignore or deny even after the symptoms become more acute. In fact, the average person waits approximately ten years after being diagnosed to receive treatment for their hearing loss. This only allows conditions to worsen and damage chances for recovery.
Considering the prevalence of hearing loss, it is surprising how many people do little or nothing to protect their ears. Nearly one in five Americans have some degree of hearing loss, and among this population only a fraction has ever been fitted with hearing aids. There are many reasons why someone may decide to postpone treating their hearing loss, but early treatment is the most effective way to prevent future complications and protect what remains of your hearing. Whether it’s denial, fear of appearing elderly or the high investment in hearing aids putting off treatment only makes things worse.
The Dangers of Untreated Hearing Loss
Over time, hearing loss causes the brain to struggle when understanding speech and other sounds. This means that a listener must concentrate on an action that was once intuitive. Eventually, it becomes harder and harder to differentiate between speech and noise. Once this occurs, even the most advanced hearing aid may not be powerful enough to help your brain readjust to living in the noisy world we live in.
Left untreated, this type of cognitive strain can stress your most cherished relationships at home and at work. Your closest relationships become weakened by misunderstandings and co-workers and employers start to value you less at work. Ultimately the strain of hearing loss can cause early deterioration of the mind and increases the risk for Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other mental disorders. Lack of hearing aid use has also been known to increase the risk of falling among this age group by up to three times. By being fitted with hearing aids immediately after a hearing loss diagnosis, you can postpone or even prevent cognitive or physical issues such as these from ever developing.
The Future of Hearing
There has never been a better time than now to be in need of hearing aids. The innovative features of hearing aids will only be more plentiful and as the technological advancements become more widespread, the cost of these high-tech hearing aids will only continue to decrease. With the latest styles, discreet sizes and wireless technology that connect consumers to the technology around them, hearing aids are poised to enter the next decade without the stigma of your grandparent’s hearing devises.
The days of hearing aids only being sound amplifiers are over. Today, hearing aid manufacturers are working to develop products that are smaller, more attractive, easier to use and with a host of innovative features that will make any consumer who needs them willing and perhaps even excited to try out the newest hearing aids on the market.
Make May the Month to Deal with Your Hearing!
If you suspect you have a hearing loss don’t delay any longer! Make this Better Hearing and Speech Month a call to action. Contact us at La Canada Hearing to set up a hearing test. Hearing tests are quick and painless and can diagnose your hearing loss to individualize your unique treatment. The sooner you treat a hearing loss, the sooner you can get back to living your best life.