It goes without saying, people tend to take hearing for granted, they just assume that it will always be there even though hearing loss affects one in eight people here in the United States and one out of every three adults ages 65 or older.
Hearing impairment develops so gradually that many aren’t even aware of a problem until it has advanced beyond an easily treatable stage. This could be avoided if people treated their ears with the same care and attention paid to their eyes; much like routine vision exams, regular hearing exams are an excellent first line of defense. Early detection can dramatically increase the odds of successful treatment.
Hearing exams are quick, painless and perfectly safe but most of all, they help protect one of our most valuable attributes, our sense of hearing. Hearing can be equally important to our sense of self being and our personal safety alike.
Some degree of hearing loss is natural as we age. But other factors can lead to hearing impairment, as well. Excessive exposure to loud noise, impacted earwax, chronic ear infections and certain medications can all contribute to (or speed up) hearing loss. Regular hearing exams can help an audiologist spot these issues before they get worse and offer a treatment solution to those who might otherwise experience the debilitating social and emotional effects of living with a hearing impairment. Confusion, depression and social withdrawal are all common in individuals with untreated hearing loss.
Adults aren’t the only ones who benefit from regular hearing screenings. Most newborns are screened at birth, but these tests aren’t always effective at detecting a hearing problem. In addition, some conditions develop or worsen in the first months of life. Hearing plays a crucial role in a child’s language and social skills development; catching a problem early provides an opportunity to treat the condition sooner rather than later, allowing the child to develop at a normal rate alongside his or her peers.
Teens and young adults shouldn’t overlook hearing tests, either. Studies show that hearing loss is affecting younger and younger people all the time, thanks in large part to the explosion in popularity of personal music devices and ear buds. Together, these are a dangerous combination when music is played at excessive volume levels. Hearing tests offer the opportunity for early detection, as well as a chance to educate this segment of the population on proper usage of these devices.
Don’t wait until it’s too late to start taking care of your ears! Taking action is important because untreated hearing loss, besides detracting from quality of life and the strength of relationships, has been linked to other health concerns like depression, dementia, and heart disease.
Blount Hearing and Speech Services, Inc. (BHSS) proudly serves the cities of Alcoa, Maryville, Townsend and the greater Blount County area.