May is Better Hearing Month and a good time to take inventory of your hearing health.
For the majority of people, hearing loss happens slowly over an extended period of time, sometimes 20 to 30 years. This loss is usually due to exposure to noise that is repetitive in nature and many times associated with the workplace.
A second cause of hearing loss is classified as “sudden hearing loss” due to a medical occurrence such as exposure to a one-time loud noise like a loud concert or even an explosion. A number of people have a family history of hearing loss, which can also be a contributing factor. Other considerations can be diabetes, high blood pressure and additional medical conditions that require the taking of oto-toxic medications.
According to recent studies, untreated loss can contribute to Audio Deprivation. This condition leads to communication problems, loss of localization of sound (i.e. hearing the siren of an approaching ambulance), loss of cognitive decision making, social withdrawal and an overall poorer quality of life. Hearing loss has also been proven to affect one’s ability to advance in the workplace. These studies state that early stages of dementia are often associated with hearing deficit.
It is suggested that anyone 55 years of age or older have a baseline hearing test performed to establish their hearing levels. This would be done in conjunction with an otoscopic exam of your ear to see if there is a wax build up or any other medical conditions. This could result in a medical referral to an ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat Doctor).
Make sure you are taking active steps to protect your hearing. We live in a very noisy world! Wear hearing protection such as foam inserts or earmuffs when hunting, at the shooting range, mowing grass, using a chain saw or leaf blower and when using power tools in your home workshop. All of these activities contribute to hearing loss over time when protection is not used. And by all means, watch how loud you play your music on your stereo or through your ear buds. With today’s technology, a large number of the younger generation play music at dangerously high levels.
Take time this month to protect the hearing that you have. With today’s advanced digital hearing aids, most hearing loss can be helped dramatically, so you can enjoy the sounds of life.
Article sponsored by Kingston Residence
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