The sense of hearing is a gift we often take for granted. Hearing contributes to our personal safety, our social and emotional well-being, and our independence. Hearing helps us communicate with our friends, families, and loved ones, and experience the world around us through sound. Studies have linked untreated hearing loss to a variety of problems, including stress, depression, dementia, memory issues, and even reduced earning power in the workplace.
Hearing loss affects approximately 40 million Americans of all ages. If you are concerned that you might have a hearing loss, then you’re certainly not alone. You could even have hearing loss without even knowing. Changes to our hearing often happen slowly, and it can take years before someone even notices. Often, our friends and family will be the first to notice and comment on any difficulties we may be having. Because hearing loss is a gradual process, it’s always a good idea to check your hearing even before you notice any problems to track any changes and take precautions before it becomes a problem.
There are many factors that can cause or contribute to hearing loss. Unfortunately, some of these factors are beyond our control. First, it’s common to slowly lose some hearing function as we age, and hearing loss, even due to aging, can run in families. Some medications, such as strong antibiotics and chemotherapy drugs, can affect our hearing. Some people may experience hearing loss as a result of a head injury or an infection. There is even some surprising new evidence that suggests that other health conditions such as diabetes or heart disease can affect our hearing.
With all of the variables that we can’t control for hearing loss, it makes sense that we should control what we can. A preventable cause of hearing loss is too much loud noise. This type of hearing loss is called “noise-induced hearing loss”. Many musicians, construction workers, policemen, firefighters, and those in the armed services have hearing difficulties due to exposure to dangerously loud sounds. Sometimes, hearing loss from noise can cause ringing, buzzing, or hissing noises in the ears, called tinnitus. The best way to reduce the amount of damage to our hearing from noise is to limit our exposure to loud sounds. This may mean turning down the volume on personal music players and stereos, or wearing earplugs and/or earmuffs during noisy activities.
Having a hearing evaluation by an audiologist is the first step in taking charge of your hearing healthcare. If you do have a hearing loss, your audiologist can talk with you about how to help your hearing and take control. Advanced Specialty Care provides audiology and hearing aid services at offices in Danbury, New Milford, Norwalk and Ridgefield.