Did you know that May is Better Hearing and Speech Month? Every year, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) raises awareness around hearing and speech issues. It is a month-long campaign of education and outreach. Here at Hearing Group, we’re always excited to share Better Hearing and Speech Month with our community. Won’t you join us this May to gain a deeper understanding of hearing issues?
Communication Across the Lifespan
This year, Better Hearing and Speech Month is designed around the theme of Communication Across the Lifespan. ASHA has developed a material that covers the challenges of hearing loss particular to different stages in life. Ranging from infancy and youth through adulthood. Each week, Better Hearing and Speech Month is releasing new fact sheets, graphics, and information to teach people the facts about hearing and speech issues.
Hearing loss can affect people of any age. Finding hearing issues from birth in infancy or early childhood is common. Young adults growing up in a noisy world are now becoming a growing group of people with hearing loss. Throughout adulthood, hearing damage builds, making for a higher risk of severe hearing loss. It’s important to understand how to protect our hearing. Also, knowing what to do when we notice hearing issues is important. In turn, our hearing can serve us well our whole life.
Hearing Loss Basics
Hearing loss can come from many different issues within the ear. Things like
- side effects of certain medications
- trauma to the head or neck
- blockages (such as earwax)
- longterm damage within the inner ear
Most long term hearing loss is related to damage to the tiny hearing components of the inner ear. Sensing sound waves in the air is done by many finetuned hair cells within the shell-shaped cochlea of the inner ear. These cells pick up sound wave vibrations. Next, they change the vibrations into electrical impulses and send them to the brain which interprets them.
While these cells are precise and sensitive in the job they do, they are also very delicate. However, unlike other cells in the body, these hair cells are unable to repair themselves when they become disabled. Also, the hair cells in our inner ears cannot be replaced, meaning a damaged hair cell is out of commission permanently. Consequently, leaving a gap in our ability to hear. Hair cells have a performance range and listening to loud sounds without hearing protection can cause strain and damage to the hair cells. As we go through life, all the longterm hearing injuries we have over time can add up to a severe hearing loss.
Recognizing and Treating Hearing Issues
Gradual hearing loss can be hard to recognize and prioritize. Therefore, examining hearing issues when they first begin is an important part of hearing health. So, pay attention to the way you hear. Signs of hearing loss include consistent trouble understanding what people say. Often voices can be heard but the sound seems muffled, especially high-pitched voices like children’s speech. Another example, turning up the volume very high on electronics may be a sign you are having difficulty hearing at lower, more moderate volumes.
Sometimes the signs are subtle. For instance, if you are experiencing hearing loss, noisy social events may seem less enjoyable and harder to follow. You may begin avoiding once enjoyable activities like sporting events, parties and dining out. A loved one may notice differences in your hearing before you think of your hearing as having challenges. So, if someone close to you suggests you get your hearing checked, take them seriously. The way you hear affects not only yourself but your relationship to everyone you communicate with.
Visit Us at Hearing Group
Part of having a good understanding of your hearing health is developing healthy listening habits and scheduling regular hearing exams. A hearing exam can detect hearing loss early when it is easiest to treat and can minimize the impact hearing loss has on your life.
Choosing comprehensive hearing healthcare like what we provide at Hearing Group is a great first step towards hearing your best. Our thorough hearing exams map your hearing challenges and help our hearing specialists connect you with personalized solutions. So, no matter what your age is, hearing health is important to think about. At Hearing Group, we are happy to help you protect your hearing and hear your best.