May is better hearing month, which means it is the perfect time of year to have your hearing checked if you have been experiencing hearing loss.
Roughly 20 percent of Americans have some degree of hearing loss, and that percentage increases to 33 percent in adults ages 65 and older. Despite how common hearing loss is, most people wait 7-10 years before having their hearing checked.
As the audiologists at Audio Help will tell you, this is far too long to wait.
Hearing loss may seem like a minor inconvenience to many, but the effects it can have on your health are quite serious. Untreated hearing loss has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and an overall reduction in cognitive brain function. This is why the audiologists at Audio Help suggest having your hearing checked at the first signs of hearing loss.
Hearing aids can certainly assist people with their hearing needs, but users can still have difficulty hearing select sounds when there are high amounts of background noise. That is why many hearing aid users were recently rejoicing when New York City passed legislation mandating the use of hearing loops in public assembly areas, such as theaters, museums, subways, and more.
A hearing loop allows people with hearing aids to hear conversations clearly even when there is loud background noise. The hearing loop uses a sound system that sends sound directly to your hearing aid, which means when someone speaks into this sound system, a hearing aid user will hear the person clearly with little or no background noise.
Most people think of hearing loss as an inconvenience rather than a major health concern. Multiple studies have shown that this misconception can be detrimental for your health since hearing loss can decrease your mental abilities, reduced cognitive function and even increase your risk for developing dementia.
For those reasons, it is best to have your hearing checked at the first signs of hearing loss. Turning up the TV volume, asking people to repeat themselves and struggling to understand speech in noisy environments are common signs that it’s time for a hearing test.
It can be hard to admit when it is time to get a hearing aid. Many people deny that they have a hearing issue for nearly ten years before finally getting fitted for a hearing aid.
This means most people experience years of misunderstanding speech, missing high pitched sounds, and straining to hear what is going on around them. Once patients are fitted for a hearing aid, they often say, “I can’t believe I waited so long!”
Hearing loss is nothing to be embarrassed about. While many people are initially self-conscious at the thought of getting a hearing aid, it is important to note that hearing loss is the third-most-common chronic physical condition. Only arthritis and heart disease happen more regularly.
Tinnitus can be the source of extreme aggravation, stress, irritability, and angst. The problem is, in turn, those negative feelings can exacerbate the tinnitus. This cyclical pattern can result in a downward spiral to the point where the tinnitus cannot be ignored and affects sleeping and concentration. While it remains important to seek help from an audiologist to assess the health of your ears, if all medical complications are ruled out, it becomes very helpful to learn how to cope with the tinnitus in such a way that you manage to ignore the sound. If you think about all the sounds your ears hear throughout the course of a day, you must question what percent of the sounds that enter your ears you actually pay attention to.
Hearing aids have been around for over 100 years, and they have been available in the digital form, working as miniature computers, for two decades. But in the past year, the advancements in technology have propelled their capabilities of improving clarity of speech and reducing unwanted background noises into a new dimension. The biggest challenge has always been to help people to hear better, not only for one-on-one conversations in a quiet room setting, but in a noisy restaurant, on the phone, at a meeting, or watching TV.
A recent study at Columbia University Medical Center revealed that hearing-impaired seniors who wear hearing aids perform significantly better with cognitive tasks than seniors who don’t wear hearing aids, despite their poor hearing. Researchers also directly linked cognitive function and hearing ability in seniors who don’t wear hearing aids.
More than 50% of seniors age 75 and over have some degree of hearing loss, but less than 15% of them wear hearing aids. Earlier studies show that hearing-impaired seniors have a higher risk of falls, social isolation and dementia than seniors without hearing loss. Researchers have also proven that wearing hearing aids often improves the functional, social and emotional consequences of hearing loss.
The New Year is always a good time to take stock and refocus on your priorities and goals. But sometimes, our motivation for resolutions lasts a few weeks and fizzle away.
This year, Audio Help Hearing Centers in Manhattan, NYC wants our readers to try something different. Let’s making healthy hearing a New Year’s resolution, and stick with it throughout the year. Our staff of audiologists can help make your plans a reality.
Here are our top five options for addressing hearing loss in the New Year:
1. Get a hearing exam
If you think you have hearing loss, make an appointment with your Audio Help audiologist now. Untreated hearing loss can lead to depression, reduced productivity and even cognitive decline.
People who’ve suffered from untreated hearing loss know how frustrating understanding, communicating and interacting with others can be. More than likely, your loved ones encouraged you to get hearing aids.
They were right, of course. But while hearing aids make a world of difference and improve overall quality of life, they aren’t without glitches. One that some hearing aid wearers experience is the frustrating problem of background noise.
If your sense of hearing gets overloaded with background noise, Audio Help in Manhattan has compiled four steps you can take to lessen the impact of the pesky disturbance.
1. Wear two hearing aids
You’re better able to locate where sounds are coming from and better understand speech when you hear sound from both sides instead of one.
You’ve already taken the most important step in your hearing health journey booking an appointment with your audiologist to discuss hearing aids. Congratulations! You’re on your way to better hearing.
But, how do you know what to expect? When it comes to your hearing health and hearing aids, what is “normal,” and what might warrant a trip back to the office? The process is different for everyone, but here’s a general overview of what to expect during your consultation, during the adjustment phase with your new hearing aids and over the long-term course of your hearing aid use.
We are proud to congratulate our very own Chief Audiology Resident, Jessica Woodson, on her award winning presentation in the National Student Business Plan competition held by the Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA). Her hard-work and determination over the course of this past year won her first place honors in this competition bringing home a $5,000 award! Jessica's strategic business plan focused on audiology services based in New York City, including concierge audiology, tele-health communications, and a hybrid billing approach making it easier for individuals with hearing loss to get the care they need.
What is an Audiologist?
In honor of National Audiology Awareness Month in October, Audio Help throughout Manhattan wants to educate our community on the importance of hearing health care.
Over 36 million Americans of all ages suffer from hearing loss – that’s four times the amount of people living in New York City! Untreated hearing loss affects all aspects of one’s life, from home to work, often leading to feelings of depression and isolation.