President Ronald Reagan was a fierce advocate for visibility around hearing loss. In 1983, at the age of 72, he openly wore a hearing aid and sparked discussion, resulting in increased acceptance and normalization of how we view and treat hearing loss.
One of his most significant contributions to the cause of better hearing was officially signing over May to the subject of educating the public about the importance of speech and hearing. Today, we use the fifth month of the year to urge the public to pay attention to their hearing health in many ways.
Officially known as ‘Speech and Hearing Month,’ this year’s theme is ‘Building Connections,’ which reminds us of how important it is to keep those lines of communication open with our loved ones. The more disconnected we are, the less happy we will be – this is why the happiest societies globally put a premium on a network of friends they stay connected to and maintain relationships with. The more you are connected to others, the more likely you feel good about yourself and your life.
Hearing professionals care about your hearing health 365 days a year, but you might find May is a perfect month to schedule your annual hearing test or pop in for a quick visit. Across the country, hearing professionals are offering additional incentives and educational programs to bring awareness to this critical health issue!
Preventing hearing loss
While there is no completely escaping the wear and tear that life does on our hearing system, we can ensure we establish habits that protect our hearing from undue harm. This includes monitoring the volumes we become accustomed to. Just as we have to reset our taste palate occasionally to minimize our sugar and salt intake, we should do the same with the loudness we’re accustomed to.
Our noise tolerance can increase incrementally if we’re not paying careful attention. One day you can have a conversation while your car radio is on. But, over time, you might find the volume control creeping to the right as you notch it up just a bit every few months. Check and make sure that your ‘normal’ setting allows you to still talk to the person next to you without raising your voice.
Schedule a hearing test
Folks across the age spectrum should have their hearing regularly tested. Undiagnosed hearing loss can lead to slower learning and low self-esteem in children.
Poor communication doesn’t just affect school-aged children, though – undiagnosed or untreated hearing loss is linked with dementia and depression in adults. Connection is a fundamental human need, and when listening and conversation become too effortful and thus avoided, our mental health suffers!
Hearing loss is difficult to self-diagnose
Hearing loss is often the result of the normal aging process. It is the most common health issue that affects older and older adults. After age 65, one out of every three adults has issues with their hearing. Unlike traumatic hearing loss, which can happen instantly, gradual hearing loss can be challenging to track. It might make itself known with distortion to our hearing rather than sudden deafness.
It might seem as though the people you’re speaking with these days don’t enunciate their words or mumble an awful lot. While that might be the case, it also might be one of the first signs of hearing loss. It’s challenging to know when to seek outside intervention, but one way to answer that question is to schedule a quick and easy hearing test with a hearing professional.
Treat hearing loss ASAP!
It’s in your best interest to determine whether you’re good to go with healthy hearing or if you are a candidate for a hearing aid. If you’ve been struggling with hearing loss or finding it effortful to maintain conversations, your quality of life will improve dramatically with a hearing device. There’s also the vital point that intervening with a hearing device will slow the rate of hearing loss. The longer hearing loss goes untreated, the more quickly the rate of decline occurs.
Why not take action during Better Speech and Hearing Month? Please schedule an appointment with us today.