Hearing loss: Better Hearing & Speech Awareness

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May is Better Hearing & Speech Therapy Month. According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), this month provides an opportunity to raise awareness about hearing loss and other communication disorders, as well as life-altering treatment. While there are millions of people who struggle with communication disorders, in the last several years, more and more treatment options have proven effective.

In honor of Better Hearing & Speech Therapy Month, we’re discussing a common communication disorder that is found frequently in senior adults – hearing loss. While hearing loss is common, our medical experts at USA Healthcare have outlined some simple ways to identify hearing loss and standard treatment options. 

 

Better Hearing & Speech Therapy Month


For older adults, hearing loss is a widespread problem. One in three people who are between 65 and 74 years old has experienced hearing problems, while almost half of those 75 and older have difficulty hearing. 

Age-related hearing loss, or presbycusis, is a gradual loss of hearing as we age. This hearing loss often happens equally in both ears and can go unnoticed until a significant problem arises with communication. 

It’s common for adults with hearing loss to misremember the doctor’s orders, not hear the doorbell or telephone, and experience difficulty when trying to speak with their family and friends. When hearing loss becomes severe, it hinders your normal daily activities and often leads to feelings of frustration, depression, and loneliness. 

However, the good news is that there are many treatment options for hearing loss in adults. The key is to identify if hearing challenges are affecting your daily life, meet with your doctor, and find a solution that works for you or your loved one.

 

Do I have a hearing problem?


Since hearing loss in older adults happens gradually over time, some people don’t recognize their hearing problems. It can be challenging to diagnose if you have difficulty listening or when your communication problems first arose. Asking these questions to yourself or to your loved one can help to see how much hearing is affected in daily life.


Questions to ask:

  • Do you have difficulty hearing when speaking with friends or neighbors?
  • Can you hear properly in the movie theatre?
  • Is the TV or radio at levels that are loud enough for others but not for you?
  • Do you have trouble hearing family or friends when you are together in a restaurant?
  • Have you ever felt anxious or embarrassed when meeting someone new because you struggle to hear?
  • Do you feel frustrated when talking to members of your family because you have difficulty hearing them?

If you answered yes one or more of these questions, it’s time to speak with your doctor.

 

Caring for your loved ones

 
If you or a loved one is suffering from hearing loss, it’s time to take some simple action steps. The first step is setting up an appointment with your trusted healthcare provider. Then, your doctor will be able to refer you to an audiologist, who can perform comprehensive tests to determine the severity of your hearing loss and the best possible treatment. 

Common treatment options:

  • Hearing aids
    Hearing aids are electronic devices you wear in or behind your ear that magnify sounds and make them louder. These devices require a bit of work on your part. You’ll want to make sure you’re comfortable with attaching and removing the hearing aid, changing the volume, and replacing the batteries.
  • Cochlear implants
    Cochlear implants are small electronic instruments that a doctor surgically implants in the inner ear. These implants provide sound to those who have severe cases of deafness or hearing problems. 

There are plenty of useful options for treatment, and you can be assured that your hearing loss problem will likely have a solution. With the help of your family doctor, audiologist, and loved ones, you can improve your hearing and experience the world around you fully again. 
 

Our team at USA Healthcare is here to help you and your loved ones 

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