No matter how old you are, your family history or overall health, getting your hearing tested is a crucial part of your well-being. Nearly 35 million Americans suffer from some degree of hearing loss, but many people take an average of seven to 10 years to have their hearing checked. Here are just a few reasons to head to a hearing specialist today:
It's more common than you think: Some people think hearing loss only affects elderly individuals or people who have had constant exposure to loud noises. However, hearing loss symptoms can affect people off all ages and can sometimes be so subtle that you may not notice them.
Struggling at work
If you have hearing loss, it can create issues in the workplace because you may not be able to hear requests from your boss, a speaker during a presentation or a client during a conference call. Did you know the Better Hearing Institute reports families with a working individual who has untreated hearing loss can make up to $12,000 less annually?
The little things
Do you enjoy common noises like birds chirping, crashing waves or children laughing? These are a couple soft sounds that contribute to one's overall happiness, but can easily be missed by those with hearing loss.
Also, those who struggle with hearing loss can put stress on relationships between family members and friends, because they need to constantly ask for them to repeat themselves. After a while, it can become challenging to keep up with communication between yourself and loved ones, especially if they live far away.
Hearing loss and your safety
Not being able to hear properly can put you in an unsafe environment. For example, individuals with hearing loss may not be able to hear the sounds of construction, a tornado siren or a fire alarm while sleeping.
Once you treat your hearing loss, there are a plethora of options available in terms of making your environment safe. From a light that indicates when someone is at the door, to vibrating alarms.
No one else is checking up on it
Hearing loss is often missed because regular check-ups at the doctor's office do not typically include a hearing exam. You can appear to be in top-notch condition according to your regular physician, but only 16 percent of routine check-ups tend to have a hearing exam.
If you suspect you might have a hearing loss, discuss it with your general physician. It will probably be recommended that you find a hearing healthcare professional in your area.
Your overall wellbeing
Did you know untreated hearing loss can cause and accelerate other physical and emotional health problems?
- Depression and isolation: When you're not able to hear conversations with family members, friends, co-workers or peers at a social event, it can lead to isolation and depression. These events may lose their luster because it's difficult to enjoy them to the fullest.
- Hearing loss linked to dementia: A study at Johns Hopkins University found that people with mild hearing loss are twice as likely to experience symptoms of dementia; however, further research is required to determine why they are correlated. One theory is that since hearing loss symptoms can lead to isolation, it can cause cognitive decline.
- Higher risk of Alzheimer's: A study from the National Institute of Aging found a link between Alzheimer's and hearing loss, noting that for every 10 decibels of hearing loss increases the risk of getting the disease by 20 percent.
Learning delays in children
Since most people believe that older individuals are most commonly affected by hearing loss, testing for symptoms is rare. Unfortunately, a child that experiences hearing loss can suffer in the classroom because they are unable to hear the teacher correctly.
These are just a few of many reasons to see an audiologist about your hearing loss. Even if you are not experiencing symptoms, getting your hearing checked is important.