Communication Disorders are More Common in Kids than you think

Communication Disorders are More Common in Kids than you Think

If you are a parent, then you are most likely juggling a lot. From playdates to carpools to considering your child’s health, there are so many things to account for. We all want our children to succeed to their highest potential and that means paying attention to their interactions and making sure they have the best tools at their disposal. Did you know that over 10% of children have a communication disorder? These are the most common disabilities among kids. In fact, the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders reports that:

 

  • Of children between the ages of 3-17, nearly 1 in 12 has had a disorder related to voice, speech, language, or swallowing. 

 

  • Almost 11% of children among children ages 3-6 have a communication disorder 

We do the best to identify any potential issue our children may have, but these statistics show that communication disorders are much more common than we may first suspect.

 

Identifying a Communication Issue Early

It is estimated that 2% of all children born each year will have a communication issue connected to speech and or language delays. Communication issues can affect social, academic, and future career potential if not addressed. Many children will develop normal speech and language skills by the time they reach school, but many will not. The sooner you identify these language issues the better. Research shows that children know a great deal about their language even before the first word is said. You can evaluate your infants ( under 3 years old ) for communication disorders such as a delay in speech, language or hearing. If ignored or undetected a child can quickly fall behind, but early detection increases the chances for improving communication skills.

Common Communication Disorders 

There are several broad disorders that may present on a scale, mildly to profound. Common disorders with speech, voice, and language comprehension include: 

  • Phonological Disorder: This pertains to children with speech issues. Kids affected by this disorder struggle to develop the level of speech appropriate for their age. Issues arise articulating words, producing complex sentences, and in the substitution of words.
  • Expressive Language Disorder: Struggles with verbal communication. This occurs when a child struggles to recall words, use the proper tense and has a limited vocabulary.

Hearing Loss and Communication Issues

One of the most common causes of communication disorders among children is hearing loss. Though hearing loss is commonly associated with old age, nearly 15% of children have some degree of hearing loss in one or both ears. This can be present at birth or develop due to an infection, exposure to loud noise or genetics. When a child suffers from hearing impairment it can be identified if you notice your child struggling to communicate. A hearing loss can cause sounds to be perceived as muffled or slurred. It can be more severe in around noise as your child struggles to separate words in sentences and makes it difficult for them to follow conversation.

Other Causes of Communication Disorders

Hearing loss is a common cause of communication disorders. Other common issues include:

  • Autism
  • Brain injury 
  • Nervous system disorder  
  • Attention deficit or hyperactivity disorder 
  • Developmental or neurological disorder

Diagnosing Hearing Loss in Children

If your child 1-5 does not react to loud sounds, has trouble with the localization of sound, or does not react to voices, even when being held, this could be a sign of hearing loss. As your child reaches school age, there are other signs to be aware of:

  • If your child struggles to follow simple commands,
  • falls behind with speech and communication skills
  • Must look at you to hear
  • Struggles with localization 
  • Experiences problems keeping up at school, grades slipping, or has behavioral issues

Treatment Options

There are several successful ways to treat communication disorders including:

  • Behavioral Therapy: This therapy focusing on developing skills to manage disruptive behavior.
  • Speech Therapy: focuses on building communication skills including the development of g language, articulation, and fluency. 
  • Changes to Environment: a quieter environment can help a child with a communication disorder focus and secede.

If you do suspect that your child has a communication disorder it is a good idea to schedule a hearing test as soon as possible. We can test your child’s hearing and help you find the best treatment to help them communicate and get the very best from life. Schedule an appointment today.

How Untreated Hearing Loss Interferes with Your Relationships

How Untreated Hearing Loss Interferes with Your Relationships

Hearing loss is an issue that begins in the ears but affects much more. What can begin as simple misunderstandings and having to ask the people in your life to repeat themselves, can build up over time into resentment, loneliness, anxiety and estranged relationships. While hearing loss is often irreversible it is treatable with hearing aids. These amazing devices amplify the sounds you struggle to hear so you can participate in your relationships again. It takes people five to seven years on average, after they suspect they have a problem to address the issue. In addition, of those 70 and older who could benefit from hearing aids, only one in three people, or 30 percent have ever tried them. The dangers of ignoring or choosing not to treat your hearing loss can not only impact you, but the people you care about.

Communication is Key to a Healthy Relationship

Healthy relationships are built on communication. When hearing starts to decline it often becomes difficult to stay connected to people in your life. In the instance of your partner or significant other, you may have shared years and life experience together, but even so, healthy communication is still essential. Tension builds and miscommunications become standard. Often the significant other with more hearing ability will take on the responsibility of an interpreter for the other, which can cause unhealthy codependency and resentment on both sides. However, It’s not only important conversations and logistical issues that cause stress. It’s the casual banter and inside jokes which build intimacy and help both people in a relationship feel understood. As hearing loss minimizes these interactions, feelings of closeness fade.

Communication and Professional Relationships

In the workplace hearing loss can affect your relationships as well. It is all too common to seem distracted or disinterested during conversation when it is actually that you cannot hear. It’s tempting to pretend to understand but this can add to miscommunications and failures in the workplace. However, the effects of losing your hearing in the workplace extend beyond communicating with others. Ultimately our auditory system involves the brain. When sound doesn’t reach the brain, it is forced to work overtime. This can cause cognitive decline, depression, anxiety, and social withdrawal. These emotional impacts of hearing loss can affect your value at work, causing a huge portion of the workforce who have hearing loss a significant decline in wages when compared to people with healthy hearing or those using hearing aids. 

How Hearing Aids Improve Relationships

Treating your hearing loss with hearing aids or cochlear implants allows you to hear what you may have been missing for years. The longer you have lived with undiagnosed or untreated hearing loss, the greater the potential for a strain on your most precious relationships. The good news is you can start to rebuild them when you invest in your hearing.

Improved Communication

Everyone’s hearing loss is just a little different. This is why it’s important to have your hearing tested. We can diagnose your particular type of hearing loss and find the best hearing aids to amplify the sounds you struggle with. With hearing aids, you will be able to follow conversations and begin to reconnect to old friends as well as build new relationships. This can ultimately cause a rise in your self-esteem and sense of independence. With hearing aids you’ll feel comfortable going out more, pursuing your interests and improving your quality of life.

Increased Earning Power

Not only do hearing aids improve your relationships, but they can actually increase earning power at work! A report from The Better Hearing Institute found that not treating hearing loss can lower annual earnings by as much as $30,000. However, the study found that hearing aids minimized this risk by more than 90 percent for those with mild hearing loss! For those with moderate-to-severe hearing loss, a loss of earnings was decreased by 77%. This is just one example of how important it is to be able to communicate as clearly as possible.

Don’t Put This Off!

Maybe you suspect you have hearing loss, but you are reluctant to find out. Hearing loss is often associated with old age, causing many to put off treatment. The irony of this is, that nothing can make you seem more out of touch than struggling to hear without hearing aids. If you have put off dealing with your hearing loss for years, it will take time to heal some of the damage that has been done. The sooner you get started, the better. The first step is simple. Call and book an appointment to have your hearing tested today!

Tips for a Successful Virtual Family Reunions

Tips for a Successful Virtual Family Reunion

Your 2020 holiday plans might look a little different this year, but you can still get together with your family virtually. There are lots of ways to connect with loved ones online, and you can plan a virtual family reunion to celebrate the holidays. These tips will help you have a fun virtual get together.

Make a Schedule

The best way to have a successful virtual event is to make a clear schedule. It’s frustrating waiting for everyone to show up to a meeting, so make a plan before your family reunion and let everyone know the schedule ahead of time. These are the things you should include in the schedule:

  • The reunion start time
  • The order of events
  • The reunion end time
  • Anything to prepare, such as food items, games, or holiday clothing

Sharing all this information with your family ahead of time will help make your virtual family reunion a big success.

Keep Your Holiday Traditions Alive

Does your family have some holiday traditions? You can find ways to share your traditions online. 

  • If your family plays games during the holidays you can try a game of Pictionary, or find an online game you can play together. 
  • If you love to share food over the holidays, ask each family member to bring a special dish to the reunion and show it off for the family.
  • If you love listening to holiday tunes, set aside some time in the schedule to listen to some music together.
  • If you love dressing up for the holidays, challenge your family to come in their holiday finest, or to find a great holiday sweater to wear to the reunion.

Test It Out Ahead of Time

If you’ve never held an online meeting before, test it out ahead of time. Make sure you know how to start the meeting, invite participants, and work out any technical glitches before reunion day. You can also invite several family members to test it out ahead of time. Some of your family members may not be very comfortable with online meetings, and you can help them learn to log in, turn on their camera, or unmute their mics. 

Having a test before the reunion will take the pressure off, and you’ll be confident hosting the meetings. It will also relieve the stress some of your family members may feel about having an online reunion.

Helping Everyone Hear

Is someone in your family hard of hearing? Virtual meetings can be challenging for people with hearing loss, but there are a few things you can do to make it easy for your loved ones to participate in the reunion.

  • Ask your family to speak one at a time. When several people talk at once, the audio will jump back and forth between the people talking, and it’s very hard to understand what’s being said.
  • Ask everyone to set up their screen in a brightly lit room. Making sure all the faces are well lit helps everyone communicate. It’s easy to see who’s speaking, and to see facial expressions or other non-verbal cues.
  • Ask the family to join the meeting on their computers rather than their phones. The larger screen will make it easy to see all the participants, and it will also keep the screen from moving during the call.
  • Turn on Closed Captioning. When your loved one with hearing loss can read what’s being said they’ll be able to keep up with the conversation.
  • Be willing to repeat or rephrase what’s been said if your loved one didn’t hear it the first time. 

Gift Ideas for Your Loved One with Hearing Loss

The best gift you can give your loved one with hearing loss is the gift of hearing. If your loved one doesn’t have hearing aids, encourage them to schedule a hearing test with us!

You support your loved one and  find out more about their hearing loss. Together you can learn about their hearing aid options and find the right devices to help them hear. Help your loved one pick out hearing aids before the holidays! They’ll have time to get used to their devices so they can enjoy hearing clearly during your virtual family reunion.

Contact us today to learn more about our assistive listening devices and hearing aid technology. 

Improving Communication with Your Family

Improving Communication with Your Family

With hearing loss affecting approximately 48 million people in the US alone, there is a good chance that someone in your family may be dealing with some degree of hearing damage. This is especially true if someone in your family is 65 years or older. It is estimated that one in three people over the age of 65 and half of seniors over 75 deal with some degree of hearing loss. 

Even so, hearing loss can affect you or family members at any age due to exposure to loud noise, head trauma, certain medications and infections. While it is important to take steps to protect yours and your loved one’s hearing it is not always possible. Once hearing loss occurs it cannot be reversed only treated with hearing aids.

A Strain on Relationships

Communication is affected more and more as hearing loss becomes more severe. It can be difficult to communicate important information to family members with hearing loss but just as importantly, it becomes challenging to share casual comments and inside jokes that build intimacy. You may start to feel distant from family members with hearing loss and not understand why. 

Know the Signs

Hearing loss is a progressive health issue starting slow and growing worse over time. It is common for people with hearing loss to not be aware of the condition until it progresses to the point where it’s hard to hear even in the most ideal of listening environments. 

It is often family members that recognize a hearing loss first. The sooner this condition is diagnosed the sooner treatment can begin. Untreated hearing loss has not only been connected to strain on relationships but a lack of self confidence, higher rates of depression, anxiety, insomnia, social isolation, and a greater risk for accidents that lead to hospitalization. 

Knowing the signs of hearing loss can allow you to diagnose yourself or a family member before relationships can start to suffer and related health conditions can progress. If you or a family member asks to repeat statements more often than not, complains about the volume of the TV or insists that others mumble, then it is a good idea to schedule a hearing test as soon as possible.

Treat Hearing Loss with Hearing Aids

The most important step for family communication is to wear your hearing aids at all hours from the time you wake up till the time you go to sleep. It is not just enough for your hearing aids when you go out in public. When your hearing aids are left unused, you are back to missing important casual conversation between family members that build intimacy and connection. 

Important Communication Strategies for Family Communication

Communication requires at least two people. If you are the speaker, it is important to get the listener’s attention first so they can be fully present to receive the information. This cannot be stressed more for family members with a hearing impairment. 

Make sure you maintain eye contact and that they have a full view of your face. This way they can rely on facial expression, body language and even lip reading to supplement for what they cannot hear. If you are the listener it is your job to let the speaker know that you understand what they are saying. When everyone in the family works together to ensure active communication hearing issues can cause less stress and strain in the family.

Clear Communication Strategies

Knowing and using communication strategies will relieve stress when speaking to people in the family with hearing loss. Make sure that the person with a hearing disability can see you before you start speaking. Avoid speaking to them from another room as this communication can be missed. Start by saying their name or lightly tapping them on the shoulder before you start speaking. Avoid yelling as this can actually distort the sound. Instead speak clearly and slowly enunciate each word. 

Make an Appointment for a Hearing Exam Today

If you suspect that you or someone in your family is dealing with even a slight amount of hearing loss make sure to set up a hearing exam as soon as possible. Hearing tests are quick and painless and can diagnose the extent of a hearing issue so the proper hearing aids can be recommended. The sooner you start wearing hearing aids, the sooner you can lower the stress level in your family, continue to build relationships and get back to enjoying life you love.

Treating Hearing Loss Helps You Stay Socially Connected 

Treating Hearing Loss Helps You Stay Socially Connected

Hearing loss is the third most common health condition older adults experience. This public health epidemic impacts over 30 million people who have impaired hearing in one or both ears. Because hearing loss often happens gradually over time, it is often overlooked and undertreated. This means that there are millions of people who are currently dealing with untreated impaired hearing. Hearing loss can make communication challenging which impacts relationships, job performance, and overall health. Strained communication can especially affect engaging with others causing people to withdraw from social activity. However, by effectively treating hearing loss, communication can considerably improve, allowing people to navigate social environments with greater ease!

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; effecting the auditory system and the way we hear. This results in a reduced ability to hear and process sound which can have a profound impact on one’s life. Hearing loss can lead to:

 

  • Strained Communication: having conversations with others can become difficult when hearing is restricted (especially in environments with background noise). Sounds can seem muffled so hearing distinct words can be tough. People with hearing loss may rely on others to speak loudly, repeat themselves, moving to quieter areas to have conversations, needing others to speak slowly, reading mouths etc. Because conversations can be difficult to follow entirely, there can be greater miscommunication and gaps of information. This impacts the quality of a conversation and requires people to expend more energy which can be tasking and create an unpleasant interaction. 
  • Social Withdrawal: The work of having a conversation can outweigh the pleasure of spending time with others. It is common to feel stress and anxiety which can lead to an avoidance of social settings, gatherings, activities etc. This kind of isolation results in spending less time with family and friends which creates distance and tension. Withdrawing from your community and support system strains relationships.

 

Strained communication and social withdrawal can significantly impact one’s overall health. Being less connected to others can take a toll on emotional and mental health. Withdrawing from social environments and quality time with others contributes to stress, loneliness, depression etc. If untreated, hearing loss can worsen and these symptoms will persist which makes moving through daily life more difficult than it needs to be. If you have noticed any changes to your hearing, it is critical to have your hearing tested. Early detection of hearing loss is incredibly beneficial and can help you transition to better hearing more easily.

Benefits of Treatment 

Addressing hearing loss can alleviate symptoms and drastically improve the quality of your life. Treatment begins with assessing your hearing by a hearing healthcare specialist. Hearing tests are an easy and noninvasive way to determine any impairment, degree, and type of hearing loss. The most common treatment for hearing loss is hearing aids which feature various technologies that increases one’s ability to hear and supports social connection by:

 

  • Enhancing Communication: hearing aids are innovative electronic devices that are designed to absorb, amplify, and process sound; allowing a person to hear much better in various environments. This alleviates the pressure, anxiety, and stress of constantly trying to hear. With hearing aids people can hear and respond without consistently asking others to speak loudly and/or quietly. This allows people to engage in conversation smoothly which significantly improves communication. 
  • Boost Confidence: hearing aids support people acclimating seamlessly in the environment they are in without having to rely on others. This device alleviates the often-exhausting burden of constantly compensating for hearing loss. Being able to easily hear can provide more energy in addition to boosting one’s confidence and sense of independence. This supports people participating fully (in conversations, social activities, meetings etc.) and with greater presence.

 

Treating hearing loss and being able to communicate effectively allows people to stay socially connected. Social connection is critical to living balanced, healthy, and joyous lives. Our relationships with family and friends, hobbies, and spending time with others sustains happiness. This contributes greatly to overall well-being and the longevity, abundance, and quality of one’s life!

Communication at Work – May is Better Hearing and Speech Month!

Hearing Consultants Communication At Work May is Better Hearing and Speech Month!

Hearing loss is a common condition that millions of people experience. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, nearly one in eight people have some degree of hearing loss in one or both ears; making hearing loss a public health epidemic. This can drastically impact how a person navigates their personal and professional life on a daily basis. Impaired hearing reduces one’s ability to hear which makes communication, essential to how we live our lives, difficult. Strained communication can be eased by addressing hearing loss and practicing a few helpful tips!

Impact on Hearing

Hearing loss restricts the speech and sound a person can absorb, hear, and process. This results in various challenges to communication and engaging in conversations. People with hearing loss often experience:

– Difficulty hearing distinct words and following entire conversation as sounds seem muffled

– Frequently asking others to speak loudly and/or slowly

– Moving to quieter areas to have conversation

– Reading mouths to make out individual words

– Needing others to repeat what they have said

These symptoms of hearing loss require extra effort and energy to hear and participate in conversations. In addition to miscommunication or misinformation, this can cause stress and exhaustion. Conversations can feel like too much work and be an unpleasant experience for everyone involved.

To alleviate these symptoms and to improve communication, it is critical to address hearing loss! Fortunately, there are effective ways to treat impaired hearing which begins by having your hearing assessed. This involves a simple, non-invasive process with a hearing healthcare professional that determines the degree and type of impairment. Hearing loss is most commonly treated with hearing aids which are small electronic devices that help collect, amplify, and process sound. Hearing aids increase one’s ability to hear which can be life changing!

Tips 

In addition to wearing hearing aids, there are several useful tips that can help enhance communication at work including the following:

Learn About Your Hearing Loss 

Using the vast resources and information that are widely available to educate yourself about your hearing loss can help guide you through the process of acclimating to life with impaired hearing. It is important to learn the specifics of your hearing loss, this includes knowing what your hearing needs are, what types of sounds are more difficult to hear, the types of environments that overwork your hearing etc. This information allows you to know what is both helpful and harmful for your hearing health.

Communicate Hearing Loss

Sharing your hearing loss with the people you work with can really help with facilitating more effective communication. Being upfront and letting others know how they can best support you by discussing specific communication strategies (facing you while speaking, being at a comfortable distance, rephrasing rather than rewording when you are struggling etc.) can make communication smoother and prevent miscommunication and frustration.

Identify Workplace Accommodations  

In addition to sharing your hearing loss with coworkers, notifying your employer(s) (supervisor, human resources) can be useful as well. Having a discussion about the accommodations your employer can provide is extremely important. Take some time beforehand to research and learn about the types of accommodations that are possible in the workplace so you know what to advocate for! This includes physical adjustments (moving your work area, creating barriers between you and sources of loud noise etc.), phones that are compatible with your hearing aid, assistive listening devices etc.

Plan for Hearing Needs

Being mindful and planning for your hearing needs in the various work contexts you find yourself in can help you navigate the workplace effectively. This could mean asking for the agenda prior to meetings, keeping extra batteries for hearing aids at work, asking for any accommodations for training in advance etc.

There are countless ways people experience hearing loss and the impact it has on one’s life is unique to that individual. Taking the time to learn all that you can about your hearing loss and advocating for your needs is so beneficial. It can lead to effective communication, your overall success in the workplace, in addition to maintaining your hearing health!

Tips for Communicating with Hearing Loss

Tips for Communicating with Hearing Loss

When you have hearing loss, communication can be a struggle. Treating your hearing loss with a quality pair of hearing devices goes a long way to making communication easier and relieving many of the frustrations of hearing loss. With hearing aids, you won’t face loneliness or isolation, but learning a few tips for communicating with hearing loss will help you foster your relationships and be an even better communicator.

Tips for Communicating with Hearing Loss

Communicating with hearing loss can be a challenge, so keep these tips in mind as you communicate with family and friends, and enjoy better conversations.

Be open about your hearing loss: When you’re having conversations, be open about your hearing loss. Letting your conversation partner know about your hearing loss at the beginning of the conversation will facilitate clear communication. Ask them to help you hear better by speaking a bit slower, or sitting on the side of your better ear, and be upfront about your needs.

Get rid of distractions: If you’re at home or at a friend’s house, get rid of distractions by turning down the music, turning off the TV, and turning down fans or anything else adding to the noise in the space. A quiet environment will make it easier to communicate and follow conversations.

Turn up the lights: Dim lighting might set the mood, but if you have hearing loss, you rely on your sight to give you extra information. You pick up on body language and facial expressions, and you need to see clearly in order to communicate effectively. Make sure the lights are bright enough that you can easily see your conversation partner.

Choose your seat wisely: When you’re in a group conversation, choose your seat wisely. Try to sit in a place where you can easily see most people’s faces, such as the head of foot of the table, or choose a seat in the middle of the table where you’ll be able to hear more of the conversation. Where you sit can make a big difference when it comes to clear communication.

Don’t be afraid to laugh: When you have hearing loss it’s important to have a good sense of humor. You might mishear a comment or question, and you’ll sometimes answer inappropriately. Don’t worry about this miscommunication and don’t be afraid to laugh about it. Ask that someone repeats what’s been said and try again.

Check if you’ve heard correctly: You may not have heard everything, but you think you got the gist of what was said. Take a guess at what was said, and don’t be afraid of getting it wrong. You’ve probably picked up more that you think from the non-verbal cues. Check if you’ve heard correctly before moving on, and make sure you and your conversation partner are on the same page.

Rest when you need to: Hearing loss can be exhausting, and as you get more tired it can be more difficult to understand what’s been said. If you’ve been straining to hear for the whole day, give yourself permission to rest when you need to, and take a break from a conversation if you’re too tired. Your brain is working hard to help you hear, so give yourself time to rest in a quiet area before rejoining the conversation.

Avoid peak times at restaurants: If you’re planning to have dinner at a restaurant with your family, try to arrive early. Rather than eating during peak hours, having dinner even an hour earlier can help you beat the crowds, and enjoy dinner in the restaurant before it’s packed and noisy.

Ask for Help

Communication is a two-way street, and you can ask for help whenever you need it. Follow all these tips for communicating with hearing loss and ask for help whenever you need it. Be clear in your instructions, and always let your friends and family know how much you appreciate their help. Your friends can help you hear clearly by:

    • Getting your attention before they start speaking.
    • Always facing you when speaking so you can see their facial expressions.
    • Rephrasing something you didn’t understand.
    • Telling you the conversation subject if you join a conversation in the middle.
    • Writing something down to make sure you’ve understood.

Difficulties with Communication Could Signal a Hearing Loss

Difficulties with Communication Could Signal a Hearing Loss

 

Hearing loss is an ailment that develops over time so you don’t realize how bad it has become. Over time, you may not be able to hear people talking around you clearly. They may seem to be speaking too quietly or you may not be able to make out certain words and phrases. Many people experience trouble working out exactly who’s speaking to you in a noisy room. The effort of trying to understand may be making you feel tired, frustrated, lonely or depressed. If you have any of these problems then there is a very good chance you are suffering from hearing loss.

The Hard Facts of Hearing Loss

In the U.S., 15 percent of adults over the age of 18, or 48 million people, report having trouble hearing. Of adults aged 65-74, a quarter have a disabling hearing loss, and 50 percent of adults over the age of 75 have a disabling hearing loss.  While hearing aids have been proven to help in most cases of hearing loss, of the adults aged 20-69 who could benefit from wearing hearing aids, only 16 percent have ever tried them. Sadly, when someone suspects they have hearing loss, on average, it takes people ten years to seek treatment.

Untreated Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is an invisible condition. Although it is increasingly prevalent with age, hearing loss is often ignored during the diagnosis and treatment of cognitive and memory disorders in elderly patients. Untreated hearing loss is associated with lower quality of life, depression, social isolation, unemployment and lower earnings at work, higher medical bills for other health issues, high blood pressure and even a higher risk of dangerous trips and falls. When you have hearing loss your brain has to struggle to interpret what is being said and other parts of your brain’s functions are drawn away from other important cognitive tasks to compensate. The sooner you treat a hearing loss the faster your brain can stop compensating, relearn to hear and ultimately recover.

When You Suspect You Have Hearing Loss

The start of an age-related hearing problem can be subtle. It’s important to pay attention to those first signs so you can act before the problem can start to seriously impact your life. Common signs of hearing loss include;

Children’s voices sound muffled or unclear. When aging takes a toll on your cochlea, the inner ear organ that helps you hear, the cells that detect high-pitched sounds are usually the first to fail. This can make it harder to understand anyone with a high-pitched voice.

You can’t follow the conversation in noisy places. Age-related changes in how the brain processes sound can also make it harder to ignore background noise.

You’re exhausted after social events. When you can’t hear all the sounds of speech, your brain has to fill in the gaps to make sense of what others are saying. That takes a great deal of focus, especially when there’s more than one person speaking at a time. All this effort may leave you tired after social events.

You’re watching people’s lips instead of making eye contact.

Your TV volume keeps getting higher. If others in your house complain that the TV is too loud, it’s time to get your hearing checked.

Treatments for Hearing Loss

There are varied degrees in which a person’s hearing loss can manifest. There are those who experience hearing loss only when they hear soft and moderate sounds. In this case, medical interventions can still be made to correct the problem. Hearing aids and devices such as cochlear implants may be used. They may also be taught more complicated strategies in communication so they can easily understand the speaker. Whether you use hearing aids, a cochlear implant or you simply have mild, untreated hearing loss, learning new communication strategies is a great idea.

Hearing Consultants

If any of these symptoms sound familiar contact us at Hearing Consultants.  We can schedule you a hearing test and determine your hearing abilities. If a hearing loss is detected, we can help you find the best hearing aids for your lifestyle.  Contact us today – you have nothing to lose and so much to gain!

May is Better Speech and Hearing Month!

May is Better Speech and Hearing Month!

 

At least 20 percent of U.S. adults, at some point in their lives experience a significant difficulty in hearing. These challenges can compromise physical and emotional health and affect the social, educational, vocational, and recreational aspects of life. Ever since 1927, The American Speech-Language and Hearing Association (ASHA) has designated May as Better Speech and Hearing Month. It is a time to raise public awareness of the hearing and speech-language disorders that affect over 14 million Americans. Every May ASHA helps spread a hopeful, positive message about communication disorders—and the important role of the professionals who treat them. This year is no different, with the theme of “Communication Across the Lifespan. ”

Hearing Loss Across the Life Span

According to the Center for Hearing Loss and Communication, 48 million Americans are affected by hearing loss, which can begin at birth or develop at any age. For example, hearing loss can be present at birth or develop over time and effect adults who use their voices a lot in their jobs, such as teachers and performers. ASHA supports a wide range of research to help develop effective diagnostic and treatment strategies relevant to communication throughout the lifespan.

One of the most common communication disorders in older adults is hearing loss, affecting approximately one in three adults ages 65 to 74, and nearly half of those older than 75. Hearing loss can lead to feelings of isolation and loss of connection from family, friends, and the community. Although hearing aids and other assistive devices can improve quality of life, only about one in four adults (age 20 and over) who could benefit from hearing aids have ever used them.

Knowing the Signs Of Hearing Loss

Before you can seek treatment for hearing loss, you must first accept that you have a condition hindering your communication. Most cases of hearing loss develop gradually so the symptoms are often difficult to recognize. Some clear signs of hearing loss include;

  • – You believe people are mumbling
  • – People often complain that your television or radio is turned up too loud
  • – Difficulty in hearing someone calling from behind you
  • – Difficulty communicating in small groups of people
  • – Communication difficulties in noisy environments
  • – A frequent need to ask people to repeat themselves
  • – Difficulties in hearing the doorbell or the telephone ringing
  • – Family, colleagues and friends suggest you might be suffering from hearing loss
  • – You have to lip read the people who talk to you
  • – You feel that you must really concentrate to hear someone talk or whisper

The Dangers of Untreated Hearing Loss

If you experience these signs of hearing loss, you may feel that your social life is suffering too because of hearing and communication difficulties. You may even be tempted to avoid social gatherings and other social situations where misunderstandings become common. This can put a real strain on your relationships with friends, family and even your spouse.  Hearing loss often leads to poor performance at work, causing your earning power to plummet and employers to values you less. Ultimately these communication difficulties can lead to isolation and depression, and there is even a link between untreated hearing loss and dementia.

The Benefits of Treatment

Fortunately, hearing loss is treatable. According to the Better Hearing Institute, 95 percent of Americans with hearing loss can be treated with hearing aids and individuals who treat their hearing loss early have shown significant benefit. Hearing aids help process incoming sound making it easier for your brain to understand them.  With the modern innovations of hearing aids today they are more user friendly than ever before and designed to work with your lifestyle.  There has never been a better time than now to need hearing aids, and, in the future, the innovative features of hearing aids will only be more affordable.

Hearing Consultants

If you suspect you have hearing loss use this May’s Better Speech and Hearing Month as a call to action.  At Hearing Consultants, we can help.  Contact us to set up a hearing test.  Hearing tests are quick and painless and can confirm whether or not you have a hearing loss.  You have nothing to lose and so much to gain!

 

Enjoying the Holidays with Hearing Loss

Enjoying the Holidays with Hearing Loss

Here we are, right in the midst of the holiday season! One highlight of this time of year is the opportunity to spend time with family and friends at big parties, small get-togethers, and even getting some quality time with our immediate families. The preparation for these events can’t be forgotten either. Although the tasks can feel endless at times, they are also fun aren’t they? Buying groceries and cooking for a big event can test our culinary skills indeed. Running errands around town can be chaotic with holiday traffic everywhere we turn, but the hustle and bustle also puts a buzz of excited energy in the air. Cleaning up the house for a gathering may seem mundane until you remember the connections with our loved ones that are maintained through these annual events. Those of us who have to travel across the country to meet up with our loved ones have a difficult task, as well, but the travel to see our loved ones has an underlying tone of anticipation.

Through all of these holiday activities, both attending gatherings and preparing for them, we can’t forget to include our loved ones with hearing loss in the process. A few simple tips can help us incorporate these family members into everything we do without overwhelming or stressing them out.

Preparing for the Holidays

Although you might worry that the process could be stressful or overwhelming, why not invite your family members with hearing loss along with you while you prepare for the holidays? They can join you for all of these preparatory tasks with just a few accommodations made. First of all, make sure that your family members with hearing loss are driving safely. If they do not have hearing aids, you might want to start a discussion about the dangers of driving with impaired hearing. For those who do have hearing aids, make sure to remind them how important it is to have assisted hearing on the road. While you go together shopping or running errands, be sure to stay within eyeshot as much as possible. If your loved one gets separated from the group, they may not be able to hear you calling their name. If noisy locations are a part of your preparation process, stand close by your loved one to communicate, looking them straight in the eye to assist communication.

Holiday Gatherings

When the time finally comes for a holiday party or gathering, it’s your time to really shine! Make sure that your loved one with hearing loss is able to do the same. A few simple tips will help make any gathering easier on your family member with hearing loss. First of all, it can help to speak more loudly, but take care with your tone. Raising your voice can often come with a feeling of annoyance or even anger. Be careful to keep your voice easy and gentle even when you raise the volume.

If you find your loved one in an awkward placement at a table or other arrangement, take the initiative to help them move to the middle of the group. Some subtle acts of translation can be helpful, as well. If you know that a person is speaking too quietly or is to far away to be understood, fill in the details for your loved one with hearing loss; context clues are very helpful. Don’t simply repeat the same thing over and over if your loved one cannot hear what you say. Instead, rephrase slightly, offering new context clues to help aid in the process of understanding. Reducing the background noise can be quite helpful, as well. Some music in the background is a surefire way to get any party in the festive mood, but make sure that it doesn’t simply make people raise their voices to compete for volume. If so, turn the background music down a few notches and watch as the group speaks more quietly.

These are just a few of the ways that you can consider the needs of your hearing-impaired family member at the gathering, but the most important thing is to make sure they feel included and like an essential part of the group.

Visit Us at Hearing Consultants

If you believe you have a hearing loss, why not give yourself the gift of hearing this holiday? Hearing loss affects you – and your loved ones. Difficulties with speech recognition could make communication a struggle, especially during the busy holiday season. Contact us at Hearing Consultants to schedule an appointment for a hearing test today.