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May is Better Hearing and Speech Month! Every year for the over 90 years, the American-Speech-Language-Hearing Association has spent the month of May raising awareness about hearing and speech disorders that affect Americans of all ages. This year’s theme is Communication at Work, and as many of us move our personal and professional lives online during the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s the perfect time to recognize the importance of communication. Here are the top 5 things you can do for your hearing health this month.
1. Learn More About Hearing Health
Did you know that hearing loss is very gradual? You may not notice changes to your hearing health right away, and you might be living with hearing loss for a few months or years before you realize you’re having a hard time hearing. Take some time to learn more about hearing loss and hearing health, and watch for these common signs of hearing loss:
- Asking people to repeat themselves.
- Struggling to follow conversations.
- Feeling left out of group conversations because you can’t keep up with the fast pace of the conversation.
- Having a hard time hearing on the phone or in online meetings.
- Failing to hear the alarm clock, or the beeping of the stove or microwave.
2. Protect Your Hearing in Noise
Loud sounds damage your hearing health more than you realize. When you’re exposed to very loud noises, the cells in your ear are damaged, and this can lead to tinnitus and permanent hearing loss. Make sure that you’re never exposing your ears to dangerously loud sounds, whether at home or in the community.
Loud sounds that can damage your hearing include the noisy construction site on the corner, a music concert or sports event, or even the volume of your TV. If you listen to audio through headphones or earbuds, you could also be damaging your hearing by turning up the volume too loud. Protect your hearing from noise by avoiding loud places or wearing hearing protection, and turning down the volume.
3. Don’t Clean Your Ears with Q-tips
A simple change you can make this month is to stop cleaning your ears with Q-tips. We’re all in the habit of using Q-tips to clean our ears, but this could actually damage your hearing! Cleaning your ear canal with a cotton swab or Q-tip could damage the ear canal or the eardrum, leading to hearing loss. Not only that, but cleaning your ear canal this way often pushes ear wax further into the ear instead of removing it from the ear canal. This ear wax can build up into a hard-packed layer in front of the eardrum, muffling the sounds around you and making it harder for you to hear clearly.
4. Raise Awareness About Hearing Loss
Did you know that 1 in 5 Americans have hearing loss? You probably know at least a few people who have hearing loss, but no one is talking about their hearing health. Celebrate Better Hearing and Speech Month by raising awareness about hearing loss, talk about your hearing, and share the signs and symptoms of hearing loss with your family and friends. Together, we’ll reduce the stigma around hearing loss, and encourage everyone to do the right thing for their ears and their hearing.
5. Schedule a Hearing Test
A great way to celebrate Better Hearing and Speech month is to get your hearing tested! Do you remember when you last had a hearing test? Adults under the age of 55 should get a hearing test every 3 to 5 years, and adults over the age of 55 should test their hearing every 1 to 3 years. If you’ve never had a hearing test, a baseline hearing test will show you exactly what sounds you can and can’t hear, and future tests can be compared against this baseline test.
If you’ve noticed any recent changes to your hearing health, it’s also important that you schedule a hearing test right away. When you notice the changes to your hearing, you’ve probably already been living with hearing loss for several months or years. Call us today at Advanced Tech Hearing Aid Centers to book a hearing test, and join us in celebrating Better Hearing and Speech Month.