By Anita Giles MS, CCC-A Audiologist
Physicians Hearing Center
Tis the season for celebrations, gatherings of family and friends, music and merriment and all holiday things. It’s a time to renew acquaintances and make new ones. Hearing is the vital sense that allows us to maintain relationships and make connections with family/friends; making it possible to engage, listen, laugh, and enjoy participating in life and holiday events.
Do you hear what we hear? Sleigh bells are ringing, Christmas songs are being sung. People are talking. How is your hearing health? Do you hear and understand well enough to listen, interact and communicate? Identifying and treating hearing loss is vitally important. Hearing is brain activity and involves more than just the ears, so it is essential that hearing loss be identified and treated early and effectively.
When you or someone else notices a problem with your hearing, the first step is to seek professional help to identify the problem. An evaluation by an Otolaryngologist (Ear-Nose-Throat) physician will diagnose and treat any medical issues. An audiologist as the health care professional who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of hearing disorders will evaluate the function of the auditory system. Testing assesses one’s ability to hear at different loudness levels (intensity), pitches (frequency), and ability to understand words to determine type and degree of hearing loss. With this evaluation and information about your listening difficulties and concerns, the audiologist can create a treatment plan for your hearing deficit. Once you know about your hearing loss, you have the power to take action to improve your ability to hear. Don’t let your hearing loss shut down your connection with family, friends, and life.
Hearing loss is a TREATABLE disorder, and its impact can be decreased with appropriate intervention. Treating hearing loss requires a multifaceted approach to care with professional support. The journey begins with the appropriate fitting of hearing devices, which amplify the sounds that you have trouble hearing and gives your brain the sound information that your ears are no longer able to provide. The proper use of professionally fitted (prescription) hearing aids offer you the best outcome for your hearing loss as well as lowering your risk factors for dementia, falls, depression, and loneliness.
Hearing aids do not sound natural until your brain learns to make sense of sound with DAILY use. With appropriate hearing technology in place, “hearing” in many different environments increases your brains’ ability to listen and comprehend. THE BEST HEARING AID IS ONE THAT IS WORN.
Although hearing instruments are helpful, they do not address every difficult listening situation such as noisy environments and hearing from a distance. Enhance communication with listening strategies such as looking at the person, reducing distance and noise, and asking for clarification.
One of life’s relationships is with your audiologist to keep the hearing aids working and personalized for your hearing needs. You can buy a hearing device most anywhere now but to have a hearing device fitted to your personal hearing loss you must maintain a relationship with a qualified hearing healthcare professional.
For More Information About Hearing Loss:
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association www.asha.org
Hearing Loss Association of America www.hearingloss.org
National Institute on Deafness and Communication Disorders www.nidcd.nih.gov