May is Better Speech and Hearing Month

May is Better Hearing and Speech Month!

In hearing loss by Ed Kocher, ACA, BC-HIS

Ed Kocher, ACA, BC-HIS

Be part of Better Hearing and Speech Month, an important initiative this May, from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association of America (ASHA). Better Hearing and Speech Month’s theme this May 2019 is “Communication Across the Lifespan,” with a focus on hearing health through the course of our lifetime! Resources, treatments, and news crucial to our hearing health are part of the campaign to bring information crucial to prolonging our natural sense of hearing and our overall health. Be active from now to improve your hearing health for your future and to sustain a full hearing experience for the benefit of yourself and your loved ones.

How important is our hearing health?

Hearing loss is one of our top public health concerns running in third place with cancer and diabetes. Data shows that 30 million people that have had hearing tests suffer hearing damage in both ears according to the National Institute of Deafness and Communicative Disorders (NIDCD). The prevalence of hearing loss is one of the fastest growing in the nation.

Because we so often take our hearing for granted, are unaware of resources and treatments for hearing decline and associate negative images of hearing loss, it continues to grow. Our communicative abilities are dependent upon fully functioning hearing. The crux of our social and professional lives is reliant upon the nuances that spoken language delivers. Our auditory sense fulfills our social and recreational lives and alerts us to be cautionary and safe in our everyday activities.

Symptoms and effects of hearing loss

How important is the quality of your life? An easy question to answer but a lifelong commitment to a healthy balanced lifestyle requires your allegiance to your hearing health as well.
Imperceptible at first, the effects of hearing loss can slowly accumulate till the damage is permanent.

Requesting people to repeat themselves, turning up the volume to a level uncomfortable for most others, inability to differentiate between background noise and conversation constitute some of the ways hearing loss can manifest.

Due to its gradual nature, our bodies and our minds find ways to compensate and when left unattended the condition becomes detrimental to our relationships at home and work.
Leaning in to hear people speak and filling in the gaps in conversation can become very stressful. Many people start to withdraw from activities that they would otherwise attend.

Hearing loss pervades all parts of our lives including our work life and professional capabilities.
Situations that cause hearing strain are avoided and can easily lead to isolation. Isolation opens up the path to depression. Your hearing health and mental health are connected and well established by the medical field.

What are our options?

  • Hearing test. Diagnosing will take three steps: a consultation, a hearing screening, and, a full hearing test. Adults should consider a test every 10 years, and then annually after the age of 50. At Advanced Tech Hearing Aid Center, our hearing health professionals conduct a variety of exams such as general screening tests, a physical exam, app-based hearing tests and tuning fork tests.
  • Avoid dangerous noise levels. Fireworks, loud concerts, and jackhammers are some sounds you should protect yourself from longtime exposure. Give yourself a break when in noisy spaces by finding a quiet place to rest your ears.
  • Custom hearing protection or foam earplugs. Custom hearing protection is designed to fit in your ears, giving you the best level of protection for dangerous decibels. They are recommended for people who are regularly exposed to loud noises whether in the workplace or during leisure activities. Foam earplugs are a decent alternative – they are easily portable and should be used whenever you find yourself in a loud environment.

Treating Hearing Loss

There are many forms of implements and devices available as part of your treatment. Here are a few examples:

  • Hearing aids: If a hearing loss is detected after the hearing test, our team will suggest the best hearing aids to suit your needs.
  • Cochlear implants: These are surgically implanted and require an Ear, Nose, and Throat medical doctor (ENT) and an audiologist for the diagnosis.
  • Other assistive devices: Alerting devices, portable amplification devices and phone app devices are also available for a fuller hearing experience.

There is continual funding and groundbreaking research in the field of hearing loss, hereditary studies and technological tools for the public to empower themselves with options and treatments to arrest and strengthen their hearing condition. Early detection of a declining hearing condition is crucial and can mark the beginning of prevention and sustenance for your hearing ability. May is the month that ASHA has tasked themselves with a campaign to bring you the information you need to be proactive and stay involved in your hearing and overall health moving forward!

It starts with you!

Your ongoing hearing health is important for you and those close to you. If you, a friend or family member are in doubt of your hearing needs, make an appointment with us at Advanced Tech Hearing Aid Center to get started ensuring the the vitality and longevity of your hearing health.