May is Better Speech and Hearing Month!

In hearing loss by Laurie Duffy, M.S.

Laurie Duffy, M.S.

Laurie Duffy, M.S. has been a licensed audiologist for over 30 years. After working for many years for non-profit rehabilitation agencies and other audiology practices, she established her own practice in 1999.
Laurie Duffy, M.S.

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Each May, the American Speech-Language & Hearing Association (ASHA) hosts Better Hearing and Speech Month, in an attempt to raise awareness and educate the public on issues related to hearing, speech and language.
This year, the theme ASHA has chosen for Better Hearing and Speech Month is “Communication Across the Lifespan”. Communication is the key to healthy relationships, success at work and physical and mental health, It is important for people to know that the health of our communication must be protected from early on and through a lifetime. If there is a hearing loss present it’s important to know the signs, so treatment can be sought out

Hearing Protection Through the Lifespan

Hearing loss is the No. 1 sensory disability in the world, and the World Health Organization estimates that 16 percent of hearing loss worldwide is attributable to occupational noise exposure. To minimize the risk of incurring hearing loss due to noise, it is important for organizations; employers and individuals to understand how they can better protect themselves and their employees from excessive noise in the workplace or for recreation. Recreational settings are many times disregarded, but being aware of hazardous noise like fireworks, power tools, concerts, sporting events, and even car engines can present a risk to your hearing. Many young adults are suffering from hearing loss as a result of listening to excessively loud music, turning the volume too high on their headphones. It’s important to keep the volume on personal listening devices below 60% of the possible volume. It is also imperative to understand that the longer you are exposed to a harmful noise the more it can impact your hearing.

Age Related Hearing Loss

Sometimes you cannot prevent hearing loss or it develops as people age. Age-related hearing loss gradually occurs in most of us, as we grow older. It is one of the most common conditions affecting older and elderly adults. Approximately one in three people in the United States between the ages of 65 and 74 has hearing loss, and nearly half of those older than 75 have difficulty hearing. Hearing aids have been proven numerous times over to improve most cases of hearing loss but before one can experience the benefits of hearing aids one must realize they have a problem.

Signs of Hearing Los

Roughly 48 million Americans have hearing loss, but only around 1 in every 3 people who need hearing aids actually have them. Some of the common signs that you are suffering from a hearing loss include:

  • It’s hard to hear, understand, or follow the words of others when they speak.
  • People seem to speak softly, mumble, slur or drop words, or talk too quickly.
  • You often ask people to repeat themselves. .
  • You sometimes miss text message dings, the doorbell, a ringing phone, or your name being called.
  • Telephone and video chats are hard to hear clearly
  • You struggle to understand speech in noisy places, such as restaurants and concerts.
  • You prefer the television volume louder than friends and family members.
  • You hear a ringing sound in one or both ears.

Roughly 48 million Americans have hearing loss, but only around 1 in every 3 people who need hearing aids actually have them. Some of the common signs that you are suffering from a hearing loss include:

  • It’s hard to hear, understand, or follow the words of others when they speak.
  • People seem to speak softly, mumble, slur or drop words, or talk too quickly.
  • You often ask people to repeat themselves. .
  • You sometimes miss text message dings, the doorbell, a ringing phone, or your name being called.
  • Telephone and video chats are hard to hear clearly
  • You struggle to understand speech in noisy places, such as restaurants and concerts.
  • You prefer the television volume louder than friends and family members.
  • You hear a ringing sound in one or both ears.

Dangers of Untreated Hearing Loss

Researchers and hearing care professionals have long understood the link between cognition and hearing acuity. When you are listening to someone speak your brain is processing the sound so that you can understand it.  A listener with untreated hearing loss is trying to understand degraded speech signals therefore their brain has to work harder to process those sounds. While your brain is busy working to understand incoming speech signals other tasks like memory and comprehension can suffer. This can lead to a strain on relationships at work and at home. Often people begin to isolate and sink into depression. Untreated hearing loss has been linked to high blood pressure, poor balance, heart disease, brain disease and dementia.

Visit Us at HearCare Rhode Island

With so many dangers of putting off treating your hearing loss don’t delay any longer. This is the reason that Better Speech and Hearing Month exists – to raise awareness and help sufferers understand the life-altering impact of treatment for these issues. Contact us at HearCare Rhode Island, so we can assist you to get the help you need!