With the start of a new year and a new decade 2020 holds an ocean of new beginnings and all the dreams that come with this. We may hope to finally organize our home to better serve us or advance our career to the next level. Maybe you are hoping to rest and relax more in 2020. No matter what your hopes and resolutions are for 2020 they will all be much challenging to accomplish if you are living with hearing loss.
According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), 36 million Americans have a hearing loss. Hearing loss is the third most prevalent chronic health condition facing older adults but unfortunately, only 20% of those individuals who might benefit from treatment seek help. Most people tend to delay treatment until they cannot communicate even in the most ideal of listening situations. Not only that, but on average, hearing aid users wait over 10 years after their initial diagnosis before they seek help. 2020 could be the year that you finally deal with your hearing loss so you can pursue the hopes and dreams in your life that truly matter to you and your well-being.
The hazards of untreated hearing loss
In recent years, research has shown that hearing is not just about our ears but that hearing impacts many aspects of our well-being. Untreated hearing loss has been linked to increased likelihood of dementia, decreases in cognitive function, increased isolation and higher incidences of depression. Discovering and treating hearing loss sooner rather than later can ultimately improve our overall health and well-being.
Many people will wait until they are having difficulty before getting their hearing tested though they may be living with hearing loss for up to 15 years before taking action. When you think of the dangers of living with high cholesterol or high blood pressure or diabetes for over a decade before taking action, the importance of treating your hearing loss is hard to ignore.
Start with a baseline hearing test
Most adults received their last hearing test when they were in grade school. It is a good idea to have your hearing checked when you are an adult at least once during your annual physical. This test becomes your baseline test, so that later, if you do suffer hearing loss, your audiologist can compare your loss to your baseline. This will create a better picture as to how severe your loss is, so that you can be treated appropriately. The recommendation is around 18 or 21. If you are past 21 and have not had a baseline test, the sooner the better. A baseline hearing test will measure your sensitivity to sounds using beeps, and will also measure your ability to understand speech, both at soft levels and when the volume is at a comfortable level. In a baseline hearing test, your overall health of the ear will be evaluated.
Follow-up hearing tests may be recommended
How often you have your hearing checked after the baseline depends on a few different variables:
- The results of your baseline test
- Your risk for hearing loss,
- Your age
If hearing loss exists at the baseline, yearly testing is recommended. If your risk for hearing loss is high, yearly hearing tests are also recommended. Some of the things that increase your risk of hearing loss include:
- Excessive noise exposure at work or for recreation,
- Your age.
- Head trauma
Hearing loss is found more often with increasing age, individuals 60 years of age and older are recommended to have their hearing tested every two years, even if no hearing loss was apparent in their most recent test.
New year, new ears
No matter our age, early detection of hearing loss can help you prepare for a future with less problems with hearing and hence your entire health, physically and emotionally. If you are feeling your best then you can better address you dreams and your hopes for the New Year. For more information about baseline testing and regular hearing checks, contact us at La Cañada Hearing Aids & Audiology. Dr. Kevin Ivory will test your hearing and help you find the best plan of action for you and year ears in the New Year. Call us today!