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Healthy Aging: When to Get Your Hearing Checked

Now that the kids are grown and you have more time to spend on your own pursuits, don’t forget to have your hearing checked, which is a regular part of healthy aging. Having a clear picture of your hearing health can make a significantly positive difference in the way you spend the second half of your life.

According to the National Institute for Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), 36 million Americans have some form of hearing loss. Once you reach the age of 65, your chances of having some hearing loss increase to one in three, one in two once you reach the age of 75.

Presbycusis is the most common form of hearing loss for individuals over the age of 65. The term is used to describe age-related hearing loss that results in a gradual inability to hear, especially high frequency sounds. The condition most commonly occurs in both ears so gradually, you may not realize it’s happening.

Fortunately, Presbycusis can usually be corrected with a hearing aid. According to the NIDCD only one out of five Americans who could benefit from a hearing aid actually wear one. That’s unfortunate, because nearly 90 percent of individuals who use hearing aids say they are satisfied with them.

Statistics indicate most individuals wait an average of seven years before having their hearing problems diagnosed and treated. This can be dangerous, especially if you can’t hear warning alarms and other safety signals. Studies show untreated hearing loss can also lead to the development of psychological issues like anxiety, depression and social isolation.

Signs you may have hearing loss include:

  • You ask others to repeat themselves.
  • You hear ringing in your ears.
  • Others say you turn up the volume on the television too loud.
  • You have trouble hearing others when you talk on the telephone.
  • You have trouble hearing others when there’s noise in the background.

Even if you haven’t noticed problems with your hearing, health professionals recommend you have your hearing checked regularly once you reach the age of 65. Hearing tests typically take less than an hour and can be conducted by your physician or by an audiologist at an accredited hearing center. The results will be plotted on a graph, called an audiogram, interpreted by a hearing health professional, and used to recommend the best form of corrective treatment.

Hearing aids are the most common treatment for hearing impairments caused by the aging process, but they aren’t the only things that can help. Other hearing assistance devices include special phones that make amplify your conversation and closed captioning on your television.

Regardless which hearing assisted devices you choose, if you’re over the age of 65 or think you may have a hearing impairment, get your hearing tested. The quality of life you save may be your own.

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