Most of us get a physical exam from our doctors every year. Strangely though, hearing tests are not routinely included as part of the examination. In fact, the majority of people go years, even decades, without having their hearing tested by a qualified audiologist. So how important is it to have your hearing tested?
Historically, hearing problems have mostly affected senior citizens. According to recent statistics, roughly a third of Americans between the ages of 65 and 75 experience a noticeable amount of hearing loss. For people over the age of 75, that number rises to more than half. On the other end of the spectrum, hearing issues are less common in Millennials in their 20s and 30s. But thanks to the proliferation of smartphones, tablets and other personal devices, that rate of hearing loss for younger age groups has been slowly rising.
The Causes of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss comes in many different varieties. As we age, nerve fibers in the inner ear degrade or become damaged, leading to hearing loss. Alternatively, exposure to loud noises can, over time, destroy the tiny hair-like structures inside the inner ear that capture sounds and transmit them to the brain. Additionally, other conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes can lead to hearing loss.
The Effects of Hearing Loss
The most immediate effect of hearing loss is fairly obvious: it impedes your ability to interact with the world around you. Unfortunately though, there are other effects as well. Research suggests that people with hearing loss are prone to depression and anxiety, as well as social isolation. Moreover, hearing loss has been linked to overall cognitive decline, memory loss and dementia.
When Should You Get Tested?
Hearing loss often happens so gradually that it can be difficult to tell it's happening at all, but there are some common situations where hearing difficulty presents itself. Most commonly, people suffering from hearing loss have a hard time understanding conversations in crowded environments, such as restaurants or bars. Also, you may notice that you have a harder time hearing the television or stereo compared to people around you. Or you may have difficulty understanding conversations over the phone.
If you routinely encounter any of these situations, or you're worried about your hearing in general, then it might be a good idea to have a hearing test done. Not only will a hearing specialist be able to determine if you're suffering from hearing loss, but he or she will also be able to advise you on what corrective technologies you should be using.
If you or someone you know would like to learn more about hearing loss, please feel free to schedule a consultation or contact one of our representatives today!