By Elizabeth Brassine, Au.D., Collin County LIVING WELL Magazine
What’s the best thing you’ve ever heard? Maybe it was the first song you danced to at your wedding or a putt landing in the cup on the 18th hole or your child’s (or grandchild’s) voice. What we hear matters; it breathes depth and life into every experience we have.
Hearing loss disconnects you from the people and things you love. The changes might be small at first––asking people to repeat themselves, straining to hear on the phone. But over time, you may find yourself missing the bulk of a conversation, or avoiding events you never used to miss.
Now for great news: there’s plenty you and your loved ones can do to stay tuned in to every moment. Here are the steps that you can take.
First, get informed and understand the facts about hearing loss. Hearing loss is more common than you think. There are 36 million Americans with hearing loss. A third of those people will be over the age of 60. Your loved ones will be the first to notice. Hearing loss can cause isolation and depression. It can build a wall around you. Older adults with untreated hearing loss are more likely to report depression and anxiety, and less likely to join in social gatherings. So, don’t wait to get evaluated. Most hearing loss is treatable. In fact, 95% of hearing loss is treatable with hearing aids.
Second, talk about it. If you realize someone you love is having problems with hearing, talk with them about it. Encourage them to make an appointment with an audiologist. It can be helpful to go with the loved one to the appointment.
Third, see an audiologist. A hearing test can show how your hearing is working. The visit should also include a good case history, a physical examination of the outer ear and an evaluation of your listening situations and communication needs. This additional information can show what the best solution would be for your needs and hearing loss.
Finally, act fast. Why wait? Every word, every sound and every moment is worth listening to. Better hearing keeps you connected!
Elizabeth Brassine is a Doctor of Audiology and the owner of Hearing Services of McKinney.