You never know what you have till it is gone - a saying that most definitely goes for your hearing.
Besides being able to watch your favorite T.V. show or listen to your music, hearing is also important for your safety. Your hearing allows you to know if a firetruck or ambulance is coming from behind, if you have dropped your credit card on the ground, or if someone calls your name. These are everyday situations that occur that you do not realize you would have trouble with if your hearing significantly declined. Many individuals who need hearing aids do not know they need hearing aids.
Forbes broke down hearing loss and hearing aid usage by racial/ethnic groups and concluded that “Latinos with hearing loss had the lowest hearing-aid use, at 6.5%, followed by 9.8% of blacks and 13.5% of whites”. These numbers are significantly low among the older populations. Many people who are unaware of their hearing loss are unaware due to misconceptions about hearing and hearing loss and the failure to get a routine hearing test. Audiologists and Hearing Care Professionals are the hearing specialists, “doctors and otolaryngologists can evaluate hearing hen a medical cause of hearing loss is suspected. But audiologists [and HCPs] are often the first stop for age-related hearing loss. [They] can determine the severity of the problem, do a needs assessment and recommend a treatment plan” (forbes.com) A study from the University of Michigan found that “the risk of being diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s after three years was 18% lower for hearing-aid users compared with non-users. The risk of a depression or anxiety diagnosis was 11% lower and the risk of being treated for fall-related injuries was 13% lower among hearing-aid users” (forbes.com). Major hearing aid supplier Starkey lists some ways that hearing aids contribute to one’s well-being. Let’s look at 2 of them.
1. Improved Balance: Injuries from falls are a major issue in the over aged 60 populations. Hearing and balance are a partnership, so when one of them is not working, the other is significantly impacted. Hearing aids help your ability to hear which will ultimately improve your balance.
2. Increased Awareness: Hearing helps with knowing your surroundings. Earlier we talked about how that includes being aware of sirens, things dropping, and other important and impactful situations. These are situations are ones that we take for granted because normal hearing individuals do not have to try hard to hear in these potential danger-alerting sounds. With the support of hearings aids you too would not have to “try” and hear the sounds because you will automatically hear them. (starkey.com)
Overall, hearing is an important sense to have. When your hearing declines it does not mean that you are not able to hear, just that you need a little extra help. If you feel like you need to get your hearing checked out , consult your local audiologist or Hearing Care Professional.