Resolve to Test for Hearing Loss for the New Years!

Resolve to Test for Hearing Loss for the New Years!

In Hearing Health, Hearing Loss by Christa N. Smith, Au.D., CCC-A

Christa N. Smith, Au.D., CCC-A
Latest posts by Christa N. Smith, Au.D., CCC-A (see all)

You know the drill! The apple is about to drop, champagne glasses clank and auld laud syne is sung by all around! It’s hard to believe that another year is about to end, but after so many years you may feel like a pro. With the new year approaching, it’s a great time to focus on what went well for the last year and what you would like to improve. Do you want to feel closer to the people in your life? Do you want to feel more confident and independent? Do you want to invest in improved health? For those of us with hearing loss, diagnosing, and treating the issue can improve all these issues at once.

Do you have hearing loss?

Many people think of hearing loss as a condition which only affects older adults. However due to unsafe listening practices, exposure to certain chemicals, impact to the head or chronic infection, more and more people are experiencing hearing loss younger than ever before. The most alarming thing is that you may have hearing loss and not even know it. The third most common health condition in the United States- hearing loss becomes more common the older we become- but absolutely can affect you at any stage of your life. In most cases it starts slowly so you don’t even know it’s an issue until you struggle to hear even in the most ideal of listening situations. However, just because you aren’t aware of hearing loss doesn’t mean many of the many side effects which are known to negatively impact your health and well-being, are not already developing. 

The sooner you act the better

The sooner you can diagnose and address a hearing loss the better. Left untreated, the effects of hearing loss can start to seep into every facet of your life. At home the people in your life will notice. Even if they don’t immediately recognize it as hearing loss, communication issues can make them feel as if you aren’t listening, are disinterested and distracted. This can over years build up into emotional rifts at home between family and even your significant other. For those of us still in the workforce, your earnings may be put at risk as communication issues translate into loss of money and time. On average people with unaddressed hearing loss make $30,000 less than those in the workforce who treat their hearing or have normal hearing.

The emotional impact

Communication is at the cornerstone of just about any healthy relationship. When your standing at work and relationships at home all start to deteriorate it can be a blow to self-esteem and confidence. You may be less likely to go out, take risks and try new things. Instead, you may find yourself staying in and avoiding social interactions whenever possible. Hearing loss is equally exhausting as it is frustrating. In the early stages of hearing loss, it is common that parts of words are hard to hear, meaning your brain has to scramble to fill in the blanks and keep up with the conversation. You may find yourself skipping out on invitations to holiday parties and gatherings with family. It may feel like more of a bother to socialize than it’s worth the stress. In the place where healthy communication used to be is depression and social anxiety.

Signs of hearing loss

Aside from the emotional impact of hearing loss, struggling to hear over years can contribute to cognitive decline and can even add to a higher risk of developing dementia earlier in life. Studies show that even a slight case of hearing loss can cause people to score lower on cognitive tests. Identifying hearing loss and treating it early is the best method to lower your chances and protect your cognitive testing. This year when you were at a family gathering or holiday party did you find yourself struggling to hear conversation in a big group? Here are some common signs of hearing loss:

  • You must ask people to repeat themselves
  • People sound like they mumble
  • You struggle to hear the TV while other complain you’ve turned to volume up
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • Issues hearing over the phone

Seeking Treatment

If this is you, then take the start of this new year as a time to act. Start this year out right by scheduling a hearing exam with us now!