At Hearing Group, we are marking our calendars on March 3rd in observation of World Hearing Day. World Hearing Day is a collective effort to raise education, awareness, and access to hearing healthcare. World Health Organization was the first to organize the day of awareness. This year, World Hearing Day is focusing on an important step in maintaining your hearing – getting a hearing test.
Hearing exams are simple and non-intrusive but many people procrastinate about scheduling their next checkup. On average, people wait seven years between when they first notice a hearing issue and when they get it examined. Hearing loss often occurs gradually and with subtlety. Consequently, most people don’t realize that delaying treatment for hearing loss can encourage the problem to worsen. In turn, it can also affect other aspects of your health. By making an annual exam a routine, you stay on top of your hearing wellness. This enables you to catch problems before they get worse.
Hearing Loss and You
Knowledge is power. So, understanding the facts about hearing loss must be important. It can help you see why hearing exams are a key component in maintaining your health. Hearing loss can be caused by a variety of factors and it can manifest itself in many different ways. Most often, hearing loss happens gradually throughout our lifetime and is related to hazardous noise exposure.
This permanent, gradual damage from dangerous noise levels is related to the way the inner ear functions. Many parts of our body have ways of repairing themselves. Unfortunately, the delicate cells responsible for detecting sound waves in the air cannot replace themselves when they are damaged. The only hair cells our ears will ever have are the ones we are born with. This means an injured cell goes out of commission for the rest of your life and each hair cell lost further limits our ability to effectively detect sound.
Loud noises cause stress to the hair cells and carry the potential to damage them. If you aren’t protecting your hearing from loud sounds, hearing damage accrues. Research also demonstrates that hair cells become more fragile as we age. By age 65, about one-third of the population has significant hearing loss. At age 90 that percentage jumps to 90%. Hearing exams are a good way to monitor your hearing as you age, and catch hearing problems in their early stages.
The Benefit of Early Treatment
Regular hearing exams can put you ahead of the curve when issues arise. We recommend making an annual exam part of your health routine. On average, people wait 7 years from the time they first notice a hearing change until they get a hearing exam. A lot can happen in this lag time, so hearing health should never be a low priority. First of all, if hearing loss is present, it can continue to worsen in the time we delay having it examined. When our hearing deteriorates it not only represents a loss of hair cells, it is also closely connected to big cognitive changes.
Listening with hearing loss means you constantly have to fill in the gaps to understand what is being said. This job falls to the brain to do. Our brain prioritizes this task, pulling focus away from other cognitive functions. This means we have less brainpower to go around. Trying to hear can start to feel physically and mentally exhausting. The brain also has to carve new neural pathways to decipher incomplete sounds, overwriting the mental pathways of healthy hearing.
When people with long-unaddressed hearing loss seek treatment, adjusting to a new hearing device has the added challenge of needing to retrain the brain to hear sounds it has gotten used to working around. Catching hearing loss early and treating it makes adjusting to hearing aids easier and more fluid. This is because the brain has had less time to train itself to accommodate hearing issues. A regular hearing screening establishes a health history for your hearing. It also means hearing loss can be detected in its earliest stages when it is easiest to treat.
Ready to make the World Hearing Day part of your calendar? At Hearing Group, we can help. We offer exceptional care and comprehensive hearing testing to make sure you connect with the hearing solutions you need. Don’t wait – set up an appointment today and get on the path to hearing wellness.