Did you know that March 3rd is World Hearing Day? Organized by the World Health Organization (WHO), this global call to action raises awareness about hearing loss. Over 48 million people in the United States have some degree of hearing loss. Even though it is pervasive (1 in 5 people have impaired hearing), it is widely undertreated. In fact, only a third of people who could benefit from treatment actually receive it.
A great way to celebrate World Hearing Day is by committing to your hearing health in March. You can do this with one simple step: schedule an appointment for a hearing test.
Widespread Inaction on Hearing Loss
On average, people wait 7 years before addressing their hearing loss symptoms. Studies show that there tends to be widespread inaction when it comes to hearing loss. This includes a recent study conducted by the American-Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Researchers polled nearly 2,500 adults and found that:
- 2 in 10 adults have had a hearing test in the past 5 years, compared to 6 in 10 adults who have had their vision tested.
- More than 51% of people reported hearing issues but only 11% have sought treatment.
- 78% of those with hearing issues have been experiencing these challenges for 1 or more years, and over 35% have had trouble for 5 or more years.
These findings show that hearing loss symptoms are ignored more than they are treated and that there tends to be a deprioritization of hearing health.
Impact of Untreated Symptoms
Untreated hearing loss can take a toll on everyday life and health. Hearing loss reduces a person’s capacity to hear and process speech as well as sound. This produces a range of symptoms that can have multifaceted effects including:
- Straining communication: symptoms like tinnitus (a ringing or buzzing noise in the ears), sounds are muffled or distorted, struggling to hear in spaces with background noise etc. make it tough to hear and engage in conversations. This can lead to miscommunication and unpleasant interactions.
- Impacting relationships: communication is essential for relationships. People often report feeling ignored or unheard by their loved one with hearing loss. Hearing loss symptoms can prevent people from spending quality time and engaging as well as enjoying daily activities with loved ones. This can contribute to frustration, tension, and distance in relationships.
- Increasing health risks: extensive research also shows that untreated hearing loss can increase a number of health risks. This includes cognitive decline, falls, and depressive symptoms.
These outcomes of hearing loss can impact relationships, social life, wellness, and your health. This highlights the importance of treating hearing loss as early as possible.
What to Expect From Treatment
The first step towards addressing hearing loss is to have your hearing health assessed. Conducted by a hearing healthcare specialist, hearing tests involve a painless and noninvasive process that measures hearing capacities in each ear. There are a few types of hearing tests that are used to diagnose hearing loss and identify hearing needs. One of the most common tests is known as pure tone audiometry testing. This involves wearing headphones in a soundproof room or booth as sounds are played at different frequencies and pitches. You will be asked to indicate what you are able to hear by raising your hand or pressing a button. This identifies the softest sounds you are able to hear and the sounds that are more difficult for you to detect.
Your results will be shared with you after your hearing test. This includes the type of hearing loss you are experiencing and the degree of impairment in each ear. The most common treatment of hearing loss is hearing aids which are electronic devices that are designed to absorb, amplogy, adn process speech as well as sound. This provides the auditory system – the sensory system for hearing – with tremendous support; alleviating hearing loss symptoms and maximizing hearing capacity. Hearing aids not only improve hearing but also strengthen communication, relationships, and social life.
Prioritize Your Hearing Health This March
World Hearing Day is a great reminder to prioritize your hearing health and wellness. Contact us to schedule an appointment for a hearing consultation!