May is Better Hearing and Speech Month! This yearly campaign is organized by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). Focused on raising awareness about hearing loss and the accessibility of treatment, this year’s theme is Connecting People. There is a wide range of resources and services that you can access to support your hearing health. This month is the perfect time to prioritize your hearing health by having your hearing tested. Identifying hearing loss early and seeking treatment can transform your daily life, health, and wellness.
Impact of Untreated Hearing Loss
Hearing loss affects more than hearing health. Hearing is a major way we navigate daily life and engage with others. It is essential for communicating, managing work life, social engagement, and sustaining relationships. Untreated hearing loss produces a range of symptoms that make it challenging to hear which then strains all of these facets of life. Major consequences of hearing loss that remains untreated include:
Social withdrawal: reduced capacity to hear and process sound makes engaging in conversations difficult. People often overwork themselves in trying to hear which contributes to fatigue as well as an unpleasant time. This can cause people to avoid conversations altogether – spending less time with loved ones, skipping out on social events, and not participating in favorite hobbies or activities. Social withdrawal contributes to depressive symptoms like loneliness, sadness, and anxiety which can really affect one’s mental health.
Strained relationships: strained communication and social withdrawal can also take a toll on relationships. People with hearing loss can shorten conversations and interactions, limiting how people are able to spend quality time. Common feedback from people includes that they feel unheard or ignored by their loved one with hearing loss. This can produce frustration, tension, and distance in relationships.
Increased health risks: extensive research shows that untreated hearing loss increases the risk of developing other health issues. This includes cognitive decline and conditions like Alzheimer’s, as well as depression, and accidental injuries.
Treatment can alleviate symptoms as well as these potential outcomes of untreated hearing loss. It also provides more benefits that allow people to live life more fully.
Connecting to Hearing Health Services
There is a wide range of resources, services, and healthcare providers that are invested in transforming your hearing health. Fortunately, accessing hearing loss treatment and services that can best support you is relatively simple. The first step is to have your hearing evaluated by a hearing healthcare provider. Hearing tests are painless and involve wearing headphones and responding to the sounds you can hear. This collects the softest sounds you are able to detect and this data is collected in real time. Your results will identify any hearing loss and the degree of impairment you could be experiencing. Once your hearing needs, for each ear, are established; your hearing healthcare provider is able to recommend treatment options that will best meet those needs.
The most common way that hearing loss is treated is with hearing aids. These are electronic devices that are designed to absorb, amplify, and process sound. A common misconception about hearing aids is that they are bulky and outdated. But today’s hearing aids have experienced significant innovation. There are numerous options, styles, and technologies that easily integrate the device into daily life while maximizing hearing capacity. Hearing aids not only alleviate symptoms, but provide ample support which allows people to navigate conversations (and social settings) much more easily. This offers countless benefits including improving relationships, enriching social life, and boosting confidence. Treating hearing loss also alleviates health risks and strengthens brain and mental health.
Prioritize Your Hearing Health this May
This month is a great opportunity to commit to your hearing health. If you have been delaying treatment, suspect that you may have hearing loss, or have just not had your hearing assessed in some time then Better Hearing and Speech Month is a great opportunity to prioritize your hearing health. You can do this by contacting us to schedule an appointment for a hearing consultation. This will allow us to get to know you, more about your hearing health, and get started on identifying what your hearing needs are. Contact us today!