Why People Avoid Treating Hearing Loss – and Why You Should Schedule a Hearing Test!

Why People Avoid Treating Hearing Loss - and Why You Should Schedule a Hearing Test!

 

There are lots of reasons people give for avoiding a hearing test, but there are even more reasons why you should get a hearing test. So, stop putting it off and call Hearing Consultants today for a painless hearing evaluation that will make your life better!

Avoiding bad news

We get it. No one likes bad news and taking a hearing test seems to be inviting bad  news. But hearing loss can be treated and we’re here to get you through all those issues you think are part of the ‘bad’ news.

You are not alone

In the United States hearing loss is the third most prevalent medical issue, ranked behind arthritis and heart disease. A lot of adults wait up to five years after they think they are experiencing hearing loss to get it checked and corrected. Let’s face it, no one likes bad news. And avoiding a hearing test is like, well, not getting bad news. Are you using any of the following reasons for not getting a test?

You think it will take surgery to fix the problem. Not likely, only five to 10% of hearing loss cases need a surgical option to correct them. For the rest, one of the pretty awesome new hearing aid options will work just great!

I only have hearing loss in one ear. Actually, you probably have hearing loss in both ears, but one ear is better than the other, so you are favoring that ear. How disconcerting for someone you may be talking to if you keep shifting your heard to one side or re-adjusting for your “good” ear. Hearing aids can correct the issue in both ears and give you better comprehension of what is going on.

Hearing loss means I am old. Well, hearing loss can be a natural progression of aging, but hearing loss affects all age groups. Six million people between the ages of 18 and 44 have hearing loss and more than 1 million school-age children have hearing loss.

My family doctor would have told me if I need hearing aids. While hearing associations are getting more and more general physicians and internists to routinely recommend hearing tests – many still don’t. It is likely you seem to be hearing fine in the quiet doctor’s office. Perhaps you are turning up the television and radio more and more to hear it, but that’s not a question routinely asked by a family doctor.

Hearing loss is a normal part of aging and I will just get used to it. You didn’t say that when you got your glasses prescription changed, did you? So why wouldn’t you get your hearing corrected?

Hearing aids are ugly. Nonsense! We aren’t talking about you getting those big flesh colored pieces of plastic your grandparents had. Hearing aids now are tiny, discreet turbo-charged wonders that let you stream from your television, your phone or your laptop.

Why you should get a hearing test

Injuries from falls are one of the main reasons seniors find themselves in long-term care facilities. Loss of hearing affects your balance and makes you accident prone. It can impact your driving ability. Will you hear a siren? Will you get distracted trying to follow a conversation in your car and watch the roadway? Do you want to risk losing your independence and your driver’s license?

People with untreated hearing loss tend to start isolating themselves because they don’t want to deal with the challenges of following a conversation in a group setting. Or, they don’t want to be ridiculed for making an inappropriate comment because they misunderstood what was being said. This leads to depression and a decline in cognitive abilities because you are no longer exercising your brain in a lot of ways that keeps it sharp.

What are you waiting for?

There are hearing aid models that fit behind the ear, have tiny receivers that fit over the ear – and look cool and trendy considering they seem to be a phone accessory – and hearing aids that are invisible and fit entirely in the ear canal. There are special hearing aids to help you hear music better, that can adjust to wind noise, so you can enjoy the outdoors, and digital hearing aids just need to be recharged instead of you having to worry about batteries.  And, you can test drive the model you chose so you won’t be spending money on something you won’t use.

Get energized, get re-engaged and get a hearing exam today. Call Hearing Consultants and get start enjoying all your senses again.

 

Everyday Noises That Can Damage Your Hearing

Everyday Noises That Can Damage Your Hearing

 

The world is a noisy place. Everyday sounds that we often are oblivious to can damage our hearing. From household appliances to background music at restaurants or shops, loud noises are all around us. On our commute to work, we may hear cars honking, buses screeching their brakes, or the thunderous sounds of the subway train. Going out on the weekend to a loud concert or club with friends may slowly rob you of your hearing ability.

According to audiologist Natalie Gibbs, exposure to noise is the second leading cause behind hearing loss. Depending on the volume and the time exposed to it, hearing loss could be temporary, but also permanent. Knowing and understanding the noises that could affect our hearing on a daily basis is a step in mitigating hearing loss.

How You May Be Affected by Noise Induced Hearing Loss

Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) can be caused by a one-time intense burst of noise, like a gunshot or explosion. Exposure to these extremely loud sounds cause immediate damage to the fragile structures in the inner ear which may lead to permanent hearing loss. NIHL is more common though by being exposed to dangerous sound levels over time; being surrounded by the daily loud noises that we may not even notice.

According to the National Institutes on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), about 15% of Americans between the ages of 20 and 69 have noise induced hearing loss. It is important to remember that noise-induced hearing loss is something can impact anyone. What is appalling about this though, is that NIHL is quite preventable through the use of hearing protection.

How Loud is Too Loud? How Long is Too Long?

At what level is hearing damaged? Audiologist Natalie Gibbs says that 85 decibels (dB) is the terrible number. Decibels are used to measure the volume of sounds, which help us identify if sounds are within safe volumes or if they may damage our hearing. Once sounds reach 85dB or above, there is a potential that the noise could cause permanent damage to your hearing. The longer the exposure for sounds above this level, the more damage occurs.

You would be surprised what every day noises are listed at 85dB. Vacuum cleaners you use at home may reach this decibel level. Lawn mowers are rated around 90dB. Other everyday noises that fall into the 85-100dB range include: hair dryers, food processors, trucks or motorcycles, power tools, and yard and garden tools. Continuous exposure to these noises over 85 decibels could be damaging to our hearing ability.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations, there are mandates for occupational noise exposure. With hearing protection, one can work under constant levels at 85dB for up to 8 hours. By 90dB, it is half, and at 94dB, it’s only one hour. Anything above 120dB could be enough to cause permanent hearing loss, even if only exposed once.

If you are exposed to these noises frequently, you could be at risk of permanent hearing loss. It is best to use hearing protection if you know you will be encountering any of these items.

How to Protect Yourself From Hearing Loss

First and foremost, think about the type of sounds you are exposed to in your everyday life. Are these sounds louder than 85dB? How frequent to you hear these noises at those levels? If you frequently hear sounds above this level on a daily basis, then you need to take the necessary steps to protecting your hearing.

The first steps you can take are being cognizant of the sounds your intake around you. Turning down the volume while listening to music or watching a movie helps. If you are on your way to work and encounter much noise pollution from the commute, be sure to wear hearing protection. If you’re attending a concert or sporting event, make sure to always bring earplugs. Try to avoid sitting near loud sounds if you’re out at a restaurant or cafe.

Visit Us at Hearing Consultants

If you feel that you may be experiencing noise-induced hearing loss, schedule an appointment to talk to us at Hearing Consultants about your hearing loss. On average, people take seven years to start their hearing loss treatment, time in which they could be learning about how to prevent further hearing loss.

Come visit us at Hearing Consultants for a hearing test. We’ll be able to determine your level of hearing loss, provide important tips to protect your hearing, and work with you in finding solutions and treatment that meet your specific needs!

 

Cognitive Difficulties and Untreated Hearing Loss

Cognitive difficulties and untreated hearing loss

 

September is World Alzheimer’s month and it seems only fitting we talk about untreated hearing loss. Why? Because untreated hearing loss has been linked to the onset of dementia, the most common form of Alzheimer’s. You shouldn’t delay getting a hearing evaluation at Hearing Consultants.

What is Alzheimer’s?

Alzheimer’s is a brain condition that affects parts of the brain that control cognitive processes – thought, memory and language. It is not a normal part of aging. It shrinks parts of the brain cells. Dementia is a form of Alzheimer’s and 60 to 80% of those with dementia have it because of Alzheimer’s. There is no cure, but there are certain things you can do to combat Alzheimer’s and one of them is maintaining good hearing. Numerous studies done here, in Europe and in Asia have discovered what is likely a link between untreated hearing loss and the on set of dementia.

The most common symptoms of dementia are memory loss and the loss of cognitive abilities which in turn leads to withdrawing from society and work.
Forgetfulness should not be confused with dementia although memory loss is one of the first signs. Forgetfulness is misplacing your keys because you took them out of your pocket and set them down. Memory loss is walking into the park where you’ve walked hundreds of times before and not remembering which path to take to get out.

Early stage indicators

Alzheimer’s typically starts to manifest around 65 or so – but can show up earlier. Hearing loss and Alzheimer’s advance slowly, but untreated hearing loss increases the odds of dementia and, unlike dementia – it can be treated!
Some early indicators of Alzheimer’s include: getting lost in familiar places, trouble finding common words to describe common objects, trouble handling money and paying bills, repeating the same question in conversations in a very short span of time, taking longer to complete every day tasks, displaying poor judgement, losing things or misplacing them in odd places, paranoia and distrust of family and caregivers and mood and personality changes.

It’s use it or lose it

We’ve all seen that information on how to keep your brain sharp to avoid Alzheimer’s and that is, actually, one way,. There’s also exercise, eating healthy, and getting high blood pressure treated; obesity is a factor and untreated hearing loss.

The idea is that processing sounds correctly sends auditory signals to the brain. It keeps that part of the brain active and engaged. Over time, if you don’t treat hearing loss, those parts of the brain that process sound start to go dark – literally. Brain imaging of those with untreated hearing loss and dementia show portions of the brain are dark or not being used.

Hearing devices, luckily, fire those parts of the brain back up. Those with dementia and untreated hearing loss do show improvement in cognitive abilities with the addition of hearing aids, studies show.

Nearly 48 million Americans have hearing loss and unfortunately, statistics show many wait between three and five years to get hearing loss treated. During that time, the brain strains to “hear” and process sounds and conversations. This can result in a sort of cognitive overload which may hasten dementia. Scientists explain it as diverting brain power that should be used for cognitive purposes to trying to decipher and process sounds.

Isolation also a factor

Untreated hearing loss can cause you to withdraw from societal interaction. You may not want people to notice you can’t hear things or process a conversation. These interactions also help keep the brain sharp. There are some indications that depression associated with societal withdrawal because of untreated hearing loss can also increase the chances of dementia.

Hearing devices can help

The first step towards hearing health is scheduling a hearing evaluation at Hearing Consultants. A painless hearing exam will determine if you have hearing loss and the staff professionals can then set you on a course for better hearing health. Hearing aid styles these days range from oh-so-tiny devices that fit discreetly inside your ear to over the ear devices tinted to match your skin or hair. Most people can’t tell if it’s a hearing aid or a Bluetooth device! It’s not worth delaying even a day – call for a test today.