May is Better Hearing Month

 

May is National Better Hearing Month and the American Academy of Audiology is encouraging the public to make an appointment with an audiologist if they suspect hearing loss for themselves or any of their loved ones.

As part of this month’s blog post we are bringing you some facts on hearing loss, treatment options and the professionals who treat hearing loss.

DID YOU KNOW? Approximately 3.7 Million Americans Suffer from Hearing Loss

Hearing loss affects people of all ages—one in eight people over 12 years of age in the United States has significant hearing loss.[i] Hearing loss is the third most common health problem in the United States. Untreated hearing loss can affect your ability to understand speech and can negatively impact your social and emotional well-being—hearing impairment can decrease your quality of life!

Signs you may have a hearing loss:

  • You have ringing, buzzing, or hissing sounds in your ears.
  • Difficulty hearing people in noisy environments such as a restaurant, shopping mall, in cars, or at the movie theater.
  • People seem to “mumble” all the time.
  • Family, friends, or colleagues often need to repeat themselves when speaking with you.
  • You have trouble hearing people when they are not facing you or are in another room.
  • You have trouble following conversations.

 

 

What causes hearing loss?

  • Exposure to excessive loud noise.
  • Ear infections, trauma, or ear disease.
  • Damage to the inner ear and ear drum from contact with a foreign object (cotton swabs, bobby pins, etc.).
  • Illness or certain medications.
  • Deteriorating hearing due to family history, noise exposure, or age.

 

How to protect your hearing:

  • Wear hearing protection when around loud sounds. There are different types of hearing protection such as foam earplugs, earmuffs and custom hearing protection devices. Contact your local audiologist for custom hearing protection devices.
  • Turn down the volume when listening to the radio, the TV, MP3 player, or anything through ear buds and headphones.
  • Walk away from the noise.
  • And, other than hearing protection, do not put anything in your ear!

 

Treatment Options for Hearing Loss

There are 2 primary treatments for hearing loss:

  • Medical Management – Some types of hearing loss can be medically managed or corrected by a skilled physician specializing in ear related conditions. Medical management may include medication or surgical options to correct middle ear disorders.
  • Hearing Devices or Surgical Implants – Most permanent hearing loss is treated by an Audiologist with hearing devices. Other patients may have more significant hearing loss or a permanent hearing loss related to the middle ear that is managed in conjunction with an ENT physician and Audiologist through surgical implants such as a Cochlear Implant or Baha device.

 

What is an Audiologist? 

  • Au-di-ol-o-gists: Audiologists are the primary health-care professionals who evaluate, diagnose, treat, and manage hearing loss and balance disorders in adults and children
  • Audiologists treat all ages and types of hearing loss: the elderly, adults, teens, children, and infants
  • Most hearing loss that is caused by nerve damage can be treated by an audiologist with hearing aids, assistive listening devices, and hearing rehabilitation.
  • Audiologists assess and treat individuals with tinnitus (noise in the ear, such as ringing)
  • You will find Audiologists in a variety of work settings, such as hospitals, clinics, private practice, ENT offices, universities, K-12 schools, government, military, and Veterans’ Administration (VA) hospitals.
  • Most audiologists earn a doctor of audiology (AuD) degree. Some audiologists earn a doctor of philosophy (PhD) or doctor of science (ScD) degree in the hearing and balance sciences.
  • Audiologists must be licensed or registered for practice in all states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

I think I Have a Hearing Loss – What’s Next?

If you or a loved one suspect you have hearing loss, please contact Quality Hearing and Audiology Center at 816.205.7220 to schedule a hearing evaluation.  Hearing evaluations take approximately one hour of your time and are often covered by insurance.

 

 

Source:  American Academy of Audiology