“Blindness separates people from things. Deafness separates people from people,” Helen Keller once said. The same might be said of hearing loss. People with hearing loss often experience isolation from their loved ones, due to difficulties with communication.
Though hearing loss is the third most common condition in the United States, it is often undertreated and undiagnosed by primary care physicians. According to the Hearing Loss Association of America, people wait an average of seven years from the time they first notice changes in their hearing to the time they decide to seek treatment for hearing loss. Indeed, as an invisible condition, hearing loss is often ignored and accommodated by people who experience it. Because it occurs gradually, people do not often recognize that a hearing loss is present – often until conditions get much worse.
With one in three people over the age of 65 experiencing some degree of hearing loss, we hope that this Father’s Day is an opportunity to get the family talking about the importance of hearing health.
Recognizing the Signs of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss occurs gradually, over long periods of time. Many people will make accommodations for their hearing loss by asking others to repeat themselves or to turn up the volume. Unfortunately, these “quick fixes” do not always work. A common complaint for people with hearing loss is that while they can hear, it is difficult for them to understand.
According to the Hearing Loss Association of America, if you answer “yes” to some of the following, you may be experiencing a hearing loss.
- Ask people to repeat what they say
- Have trouble following the conversation in groups
- Think others are mumbling
- Frequently turn up the volume on the TV or car radio
- Have difficulty on the phone
- Oversleep because you didn’t hear your alarm clock
- Have difficulty hearing or understanding speech at the movies
- Avoid going to noisy parties and restaurants
- Feel embarrassed to talk openly about not being able to hear?
- Avoid activities that you used to love but have become painful because you cannot join in fully anymore?
- Afraid to reveal your hearing loss at work in case it jeopardizes your job?
- Bluff when out with friends in noisy restaurants?
- Feel cut off from your young children because you cannot hear their high-pitched voices
- Feel strained at family holidays because so many people are talking at once?
Addressing Communication Issues within the Family
Communication is the foundation of all of our relationships, and this is no different when it comes to members of our family. As we approach summer, we look forward to reunions with our loved ones. Some of us may travel far and wide to be with our loved ones.
With hearing loss, communication becomes difficult. Speech recognition is one of the primary areas affected by untreated hearing loss. For each person, the experience is different. Some may confuse speech sounds, such as “ph” and “s”, or “b” and “p.” For others, it could be more severe, such as being unable to differentiate between multiple speakers’ voices or focusing on conversation in a noisy environment.
People with untreated hearing loss may ask others to repeat themselves often, which becomes a frustration if you are trying to have a heart to heart conversation or even just a catch up on someone’s latest news. In communication, it is easy for people to feel as though they are not being “heard” when you must ask them to repeat themselves often.
Over time, communication issues could lead to an erosion in your most important family relationships. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Seeking Treatment for Hearing Loss
For people over the age of 50, hearing specialists recommend taking an annual hearing test. This gives you a good sense of your hearing abilities and if a hearing loss is detected later down the road, you can address the problem immediately.
Treating hearing loss is as simple as taking a hearing test and having a quick consultation with us at Exceptional Hearing Care. Our team provides comprehensive hearing tests, which will give you a good overview of your current hearing abilities. If a hearing loss is detected, we will work with you to find the best solution to meet your needs.
Stay connected to your loved ones by seeking treatment for hearing loss. Contact us today for more information.