Savor the season's silver bells
The holidays come packaged in a sleigh full of senses: the smell of cookies baking, the taste of hot cocoa, the feel of the heat from the fireplace and the sight of the neighborhood decked out in icicle lights.
And then there are the sounds: the crunch of snow under your feet, the crackling of the fire, the laughter from your friends and family, and, of course, the Christmas carols. But if you have hearing loss, you could miss some – or all – of the wonderful memories everyone else takes for granted.
Around 48 million adults, or 20 percent of the American adult population, have hearing loss, according to the Hearing Loss Association.The National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders estimates 30 million people in the United States have hearing loss in both ears. That’s one in eight people, or 13 percent of the population.
How do they know?
Through standard hearing examination results, a screening you should have done at least once a year, hearing healthcare professionals determine an individual's ability to hear. Just as you have regular physicals, eye exams and dental appointments, keeping a hearing exam on your calendar of health screenings could help catch a potential problem early, meaning your hearing health practitioner has a much better chance of resolving the issue and restoring your hearing back to normal levels.
But many with hearing loss are unaware that they have it, or refuse to believe they do, even if they are aware. Only 20 percent of Americans who could benefit from a hearing aid actually wear one. That means four out of five people who need a hearing aid are living life straining to catch what the majority of people hear easily. Such stress can take a mental and physical toll on your body; many people who suffer from untreated hearing loss report being tired throughout the day. In addition, many people with hearing loss tend to avoid social engagements and have a lower quality of life than is necessary. Regardless of whether or not you’re aware of your hearing loss, chances are your loved ones, who may be constantly repeating themselves for you, have probably noticed it.
There are quite a few difficulties that come along with the holidays if you have hearing loss. You can easily lose conversation in loud, crowded areas, which could be somewhere as small as your living room or as large as a shopping mall. The crowds also make holiday travel difficult, not only because of the noise, but because of the rush. The constant bustle can prevent you from finding someone who can help you, especially in an area where you can clearly hear the directions.
Hearing examinations are the first step in avoiding all of these hassles and now is the perfect time to schedule your appointment! If you don't have a hearing healthcare practitioner, check out our directory to find one near you. If you do already have one, make an appointment if you think there might be a problem, or if you just haven’t had a check-up in awhile. There’s no need to be afraid because the process is simple: you put on a pair of headphones, and the practitioner plays a series of tonal sounds at different levels to test which frequencies you can detect at which volumes. If the idea of a doctor’s office makes you uneasy, try our hearing test first. If the results indicate you might have hearing loss, then you can take the next step and schedule an appointment at a hearing clinic in your area.
This holiday season, as your friends and family come home to gather around you, make sure your hearing loss isn’t making you miss out on all the memories.