In honor of Better Hearing & Speech Month this May, we encourage you to address any hearing loss you or your loved ones may be experiencing. According to a 2016 study by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, approximately 15 percent (37.5 million) of American adults aged 20 to 69 have some trouble with hearing. Audiologist Dr. Annette Marie Garced-Santiago explains why you shouldn’t hesitate to make an appointment — so you can get back to experiencing and enjoying sound to the fullest.
Symptoms of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss can occur at any age and may happen so gradually that it’s hard to recognize. Here are a few clues that may indicate reduced hearing ability:
- Suddenly having to turn up the volume of the television, radio, or stereo and having other family members complain that the volume is too loud
- Difficulty understanding people speaking to you and asking people to repeat themselves
- Difficulty with phone conversations and understanding the other person
- Sudden inability to hear the doorbell, the dog barking, and other household sounds
- Being told that you speak too loudly
- Ringing in the ears
Young children with hearing loss will sometimes perform poorly in school because they can’t understand the teacher, instructions, or classroom interactions. If hearing loss has been present from a young age, they often don’t recognize the loss and can’t identify the problem.
Hearing Aid Advancements
While age is still the greatest factor in hearing loss, many younger people also experience hearing problems due to exposure to loud music and occupational noises. Among adults aged 70 and older with hearing loss who could benefit from hearing aids, fewer than one in three (30 percent) has ever used them.
“Although technology has progressed extensively and hearing aids are no longer the bulky contraptions of years past, some people still feel a stigma with them,” said Dr. Garced-Santiago. She explained that these days, many hearing aids are not even detectable while in the ear.
“Audiologists are the experts in hearing health,” Dr. Garced-Santiago said. “Hearing aids are not always the only or recommended solution, which is why it’s important to see an audiologist to further determine the appropriate treatment.”
Diagnosis and Treatment
Sometimes the cause of your hearing loss is temporary or a symptom of another illness or disease. An audiologist will run various tests to determine the cause and will be able to recommend treatment.
“Hearing loss is a problem with people of all ages,” said Dr. Garced-Santiago. “If you or any of your family members experience difficulty in hearing, you should make an appointment with an audiologist.”
Along with the American Academy of Audiology, we believe that awareness is an important way to identify more cases of hearing loss and help more people live better and feel whole. To make an appointment or get more information, please visit our website or call 407-303-8080.