About 20 percent of Americans, 48 million people, report some degree of hearing loss. By age 65, the proportion of people with hearing loss is closer to one-third. That’s why it’s so important for everyone, young or old, to have a hearing wellness plan. Hearing loss tends to happen gradually, so it can be difficult to know when it’s happening to you. To stay on top of your hearing health this year, here are 5 things to think about:
- Look for signs of hearing loss in your life.
The signs might be subtle, such as having some trouble comprehending conversations in a noisy environment, finding yourself turning up the TV louder than you used to before, or having occasional ringing in your ears.
You should be particularly vigilant about the state of your hearing if you’re above 50. The American Medical Association recommends a hearing evaluation as a part of your general annual physical exam starting at age 50. Just like your eyes, your hearing changes over time, so you should consider getting an annual hearing test.
- Properly maintain your hearing aids.
If you already have hearing aids, you likely have periodic appointments with a doctor to check in about your hearing. If you haven’t kept up with these for some reason, we encourage you to book an appointment soon, not only to have your hearing tested again, but also so an audiologist can examine your current hearing aids. Your hearing aids may have to be adjusted or reprogrammed, and you may be surprised by the difference that makes in your overall hearing.
- Evaluate your occupation.
There are many jobs that regularly feature levels of noise loud enough to cause permanent hearing loss. Examples include musician, construction worker, flight attendant, bus driver, dentist, bartender, and others. If you work in one of these environments, you owe it to yourself to consult with an audiologist sooner rather than later about getting some hearing protection or implementing other strategies to shield your ears from noise. Permanent hearing loss, by definition, can’t be reversed, so it’s important to do something about the risk before you start to experience problems.
- Watch out for recreational activities.
If you ride a motorcycle, go to concerts, listen to loud music at home, or shoot guns, among other hobbies, you could be doing permanent hearing damage to your hearing. If you have any hobbies that might have loud sound levels, do some research on how to practice that hobby more safely and save your hearing. Need tips? Get in touch with us!
- Watch for signs of hearing loss in your loved ones.
Hearing health is a community effort, and it’s important to pay if forward. Not everyone is great at perceiving the signs of hearing loss, so if you know more about it than your loved ones (which you should, because you’re reading this blog!), watch out for some of the commonplace signs, and if your loved one exhibits these, encourage him or her to go in for a hearing exam.
Ready to hear better this year? If you’ve noticed any signs of hearing loss in yourself or a loved one, contact us today to set up an appointment and get a hearing evaluation!