This May is Better Hearing and Speech Month – a month that focuses on hearing health. Organized by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), this campaign raises awareness about hearing loss and the importance of treatment. Hearing loss is one of the most pervasive health conditions people experience today. Over 48 million, or 1 in 6 people, have some degree of impaired hearing. Though it is incredibly common, hearing loss remains undertreated. One-third of people who could benefit from hearing loss treatment, actually receive it. ASHA’s theme for this month is Connecting People which emphasizes the wide range of services available for your hearing health. Learning about and accessing these services can transform your hearing and wellness.
Recognizing Early Signs of Hearing Loss
A common reason that hearing loss is undertreated is that it can remain unnoticed for a long period. Hearing loss is usually a progressive condition so it occurs gradually and people may not recognize the changes they are experiencing. This is why it is important to know about the early signs of hearing loss which include:
- Tinnitus is a buzzing, ringing, clicking, whooshing noise heard in one or both ears.
- Sounds are slurred or muffled, making it challenging to hear individual words.
- Frequently asking others to repeat themselves, speak louder, and/or slower.
- Struggling to keep up with conversations, especially in social settings like restaurants or parties.
- Pretending to hear or lip reading to help identify words.
- Needing to move to a quieter room or space to be able to hear more clearly.
- Skipping out on events and activities to avoid having conversations with others.
- Increasing the volume on your TV, phone, or other electronic devices
- Being able to hear more clearly in one ear compared to the other.
These symptoms can be mild or more profound depending on the degree of hearing loss you are experiencing. Hearing loss symptoms often lead to social withdrawal, take a toll on relationships, and impact mental health. Seeking treatment alleviates symptoms and maximizes hearing capacity which supports people to thrive in their daily life.
Connecting to Hearing Healthcare Services
There are comprehensive services and resources you can access to effectively support your hearing health. A few services include:
- Hearing evaluations: having your hearing evaluated by a hearing healthcare specialist like an audiologist is the first step of treatment. Hearing tests involve a painless process that measures hearing abilities in each ear. This identifies any hearing loss and the degree of impairment in both ears. Once your hearing needs are established, your hearing healthcare provider can recommend tailored treatment options to meet those needs.
- Hearing aid services: hearing aids are the most common treatment for hearing loss. Hearing healthcare practices provide a range of services for hearing aids including selection, fitting, and maintenance. Today’s hearing aids have experienced much innovation and there are a variety of options, features, and styles to choose from. Your hearing healthcare provider will use their expertise and the specifics of your hearing loss to recommend a device that will be optimal for you. In addition to choosing a hearing aid, they will properly fit and program your device to meet your specific hearing needs.
- Tinnitus management: tinnitus can take a toll on communication, sleep, and wellness. Another useful service is tinnitus management which can include tinnitus retraining therapy. This sound therapy focuses on alleviating tinnitus by retraining the brain on how it interprets it.
These services are among many hearing healthcare resources that can transform your hearing health. Acknowledging changes to your hearing and seeking treatment is entirely possible and some people are invested in supporting you on this journey.
Prioritize Your Hearing Health this May
You can participate in Better Hearing and Speech Month by taking one simple, but crucial, step: scheduling an appointment for a hearing consultation. This will allow us to get to know you and assess your hearing health. Our practice is committed to providing patient-centered care and high-quality services that offer effective hearing solutions. This month is a great opportunity to prioritize your hearing health and access the life-changing benefits treatment provides. Contact us today to get started.