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The Importance of Yearly Hearing Screenings
Posted by Alina Phoenix, HIS on December 01, 2014
Most of us are in the habit of going in for a yearly physical, eye exam and dental checkup, but few of us think to get a yearly hearing screening. Hearing is so important for keeping us connected to each other and the world. When our hearing is diminished, it can cause or worsen a wide range of social, emotional, mental and even physical problems that it is not easy to see are connected to our hearing.
According to the Hearing Loss Association of America, hearing loss is the 3rd most common medical condition in this country, right after arthritis and heart disease. It is an invisible condition that can affect people at any age. The HLAA states that 60% of those who are affected by hearing loss are in the work force or educational settings.
Most frequently hearing loss happens gradually so we do not realize our hearing is changing. To someone who is developing hearing loss, they may attribute the effects to an outside source such as background noise, or the way people mumble and talk too fast. After all, how do you know you are not hearing something you should be? You don’t. Without regular hearing screenings, you may be unaware of how your hearing has changed until the problem is severe.
Recently, I met a client in her early 70’s that had never had a hearing test. When we were discussing her results, she asked me, “How could I go from hearing just fine to hearing next to nothing?” She was completely unaware of how much her hearing had changed over time because she had not gotten regular hearing tests. When the results of her test showed severe hearing loss, she was shocked and could not comprehend how it happened.
Like many chronic conditions, the longer hearing loss is allowed to go on before seeking treatment, the worse the outcome. Yearly hearing screenings help us stay aware of our hearing levels and identify when changes are occurring. The best time to get help is when hearing loss is mild, ensuring that you maintain your best ability to understand speech and your connection with the world throughout your lifetime.
Alina Phoenix is a Hearing Instrument Specialist working for Audibel Hearing Aid Centers in Champaign and Monticello, IL. She has been half-deaf since birth, and she was unaware of how much her hearing loss was affecting her until she got her first hearing aid and her life improved dramatically. This is what inspired her to enter the hearing care profession. She is passionate about hearing health, hearing loss education and hearing aid technology. She encourages everyone to be proactive in protecting their hearing, to get hearing checkups yearly and to address hearing loss as soon as it is discovered to minimize the harmful effects on life.