With an estimated 48 million Americans experiencing hearing loss, Tarja Oliver AuD, CCC-A, an audiologist at Northeast Hearing & Speech, is encouraging the public to act on the early signs of trouble – for the benefit of their health, cognitive well-being, physical safety, and overall quality of life. Her message is a timely one, as May is recognized nationally as Better Hearing & Speech Month.
“We know that many adults wait years or even decades before getting help for their hearing loss, believing that they are getting by just fine,” said Oliver. “However, many aren’t doing as well as they think they are, and we want people to not just get by but to thrive in their work and lives. As we learn more about the connection that hearing loss has to many other health and medical conditions, as well as how hearing loss can impact personal relationships, career success, and overall happiness and satisfaction, we hope more people become motivated to take the next step and seek out a hearing evaluation from a certified audiologist.”
Oliver shares some questions that adults should ask themselves about their hearing, including:
– Do you have dizziness, pain, or ringing in your ears?
– Do people around you often seem to mumble?
– Do you often need to ask people to repeat themselves?
– Do others complain about you turning up the TV volume too high?
– Do you have trouble following conversation when more than one person is talking?
– Do you have trouble hearing on the phone?
– Do you have to listen carefully or put in extra effort to understand conversation?
– Do you have trouble hearing in noisy environments, such as restaurants?
Individuals that answer yes to one or more of these questions would likely benefit from a hearing evaluation.
Oliver stresses that hearing loss is more than a harmless annoyance. Individuals with hearing loss may have a higher risk of developing certain health conditions. This is especially true for people who let their hearing loss go untreated. These health conditions include the following:
– Social isolation
– Falls and other injuries
– Cognitive decline and dementia
Studies have shown that hearing loss is also associated with these outcomes:
– Higher medical costs
– Lower wages
– More hospitalizations, increased risk of hospital readmission, and longer hospital stays
By taking action, Oliver explains that it may be possible to help mitigate many of these risks. Everyone over age 55 should know their hearing baseline, and individuals that believe that they or a loved one might have hearing loss are encouraged to schedule a hearing evaluation today. The audiology team at Northeast Hearing & Speech can help with a variety of treatment approaches. Greater Portland area residents can schedule a hearing evaluation at Northeast Hearing and Speech by calling 207-874-1065 or visiting nehearingandspeech.org.