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Invest in Your Health: Treating Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is one of the most common chronic health conditions today. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, nearly 1 in 8 people have some degree of hearing loss in one or both ears. Though increasingly prevalent, hearing loss is often under-diagnosed for a variety of reasons. Impairment to hearing can occur gradually over time so people may not notice the changes to their hearing for quite some time. Additionally, it can be difficult to accept that this critical sense we use to navigate our daily lives is declining. Grappling with changing health and having to make adjustments is challenging. Fortunately, there are effective ways to treat hearing loss and doing so is relatively simple! 

Impact of Hearing Loss 

Hearing loss can be caused by a variety of factors including: environmental exposure to loud noise, existing medical conditions, and genetic history. People of all backgrounds and ages can be impacted by these factors which can cause them to experience the numerous symptoms of hearing loss: 

  • Difficulty distinguishing words as sounds are muffled and unclear 
  • Better hearing in one ear over the other
  • Tinnitus which is a ringing or buzzing noise in one or both ears 
  • Frequently asking others to speak loudly and/or slowly, or to repeat themselves 
  • Needing to move to quieter areas to have conversations 
  • Turning up the volume on electronic devices (TV, phone, speakers etc.)

Regularly experiencing these symptoms can significantly impact all aspects of one’s life. Strained communication makes it really difficult to engage with others and perform daily tasks. Also, the stress and energy from constantly trying to hear can be overwhelming and exhausting. This can cause people to retreat and avoid social gatherings, activities, and spaces. This kind of self-isolation and social withdrawal can create distance in relationships and separate you from your community and support system. If hearing loss is left untreated, these symptoms can become worse and cause more damage to your hearing in addition to your mental and emotional health. 

Treatment 

It is critical to address hearing loss as soon as you notice any changes. Early detection and treatment of hearing loss can significantly help you transition to better hearing health. Treating impaired hearing involves a relatively quick and noninvasive process that includes the following:

  • Hearing Test: the first step is to schedule an appointment with a hearing healthcare specialist to have your hearing assessed. Hearing tests are painless and simply require you to respond to various sounds played at different frequencies. This determines any impairment, the degree, and type of hearing loss you may be experiencing. This information informs the best treatment options for your specific hearing needs. 
  • Hearing Aids: the most common treatment for hearing loss is hearing aids. These are small electronic devices that are designed to collect, amplify, and process sound; drastically improving one’s ability to hear. Hearing aids have experienced much innovation and are not the bulky and highly visible accessory you may be thinking of. There is now a wide-range of options that include different styles, features, and technologies that help you live your life fully! 

Treating your hearing loss not only alleviates unpleasant and disruptive symptoms but also improves the quality of your overall life. 

Benefits of Treating Hearing Loss 

Hearing is a major way we process and make meaning of the information and environments we are moving through. It is critical for effective communication and being able to participate in your daily life. Treating your hearing loss allows you to navigate with greater ease by: 

  • Enhancing Communication: hearing aids do the work of helping you hear the speech and sounds that you previously struggled hearing. This alleviates the burden of overworking yourself (and your ears!) in attempting to hear – you don’t need to ask others to repeat themselves, speak loudly, move to a different space etc. This can relieve the stress and anxiety you may have felt and allow you to be more present during a conversation.
  • Boosting Confidence: not having to rely on others to help you hear or extending yourself, can restore your sense of independence and confidence with communication. 
  • Improving Overall Health: with an increased ability to hear and stronger communication skills, you are able to fully participate in the activities you love! This supports all aspects of your health and living well! 

If you are ready to seek treatment for hearing loss and learn about the benefits of hearing aids, contact us today to learn more!

Jon Suarez, MS, F/AAA
Jon Suarez, MS, F/AAA
Received his Masters in Audiology from Central Missouri State. He also holds a BS in Communication Disorders and Sciences, and a BA in Philosophy, both from SUNY Plattsburgh. Jon has been a licensed Audiologist since 2004, was certified as a Professional Supervisor for Audiometric Testing, and as an Occupational Hearing Conservationist. Aside from his work in our area, Jon is also associated with, and donates equipment to, All Ears International.
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