May is National Better Hearing Month. To mark its importance, Trinity Health and the American Academy of Audiology are encouraging the public to make an appointment with an audiologist if they suspect hearing loss for themselves or their loved ones.
According to the National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Diseases (NIHCD), approximately 20 percent of American adults, aged 20 to 69, have some trouble with hearing, and approximately 28.8 million could benefit from the use of hearing aids. Among adults aged 70 and older with hearing loss who could benefit from hearing aids, fewer than one in three has ever used them.
As the baby boomer population ages, more Americans are forced to face hearing health challenges. Growing numbers of younger Americans (including millennials and GenX’ers) are also reporting hearing problems. The NIH NIDCD also states that five in 10 young people listen to music or other audio too loudly and that four in 10 young people are around “dangerously loud noise during events like concerts and sports games.” Occupational noise is another factor impacting hearing in people of all ages who work outdoors or in factories, fulfillment centers, etc.
“Technology has progressed extensively, and hearing aids are no longer the bulky contraptions of years past,” a statement from the Audiology department (which includes Jerrica Maxson, AuD; Tricia Nechodom, AuD; and their newest colleague, Kylie Harris, AuD, CCC-A.) said. They explained that hearing aid companies have stepped up to the plate to make “very cool” hearing aids for kids and young adults. “You can opt to buy hearing aids that are virtually undetectable, or you can buy them in a wide range of cool colors and styles. Many work with smart phones.”
“Audiologists are the experts in hearing health,” they added. “Hearing aids are not always the only or recommended solution, which is why it’s important to see an audiologist to further determine the appropriate treatment.” Sometimes the cause is temporary or a symptom of another illness or disease. An audiologist will run various tests to determine the cause and will be able to recommend treatment.
Some signs of hearing loss may include:
– Suddenly having to turn up the volume of the television, radio, or stereo and having other family members complain that the volume is too loud
– Difficulty understanding people speaking to you and asking people to repeat themselves
– Difficulty with phone conversations and understanding the other person
– Sudden inability to hear the door bell, the dog barking, and other household sounds
– People telling you that you speak too loudly
– Ringing in the ears
School-aged children with hearing loss will sometimes exhibit poor school performance because they can’t understand the teacher assignments or classroom interactions. If hearing loss has been present from a young age, they often don’t recognize the loss and can’t identify the problem.
“Hearing loss is a problem with people of all ages,” they said. “If you or any of your family members experience difficulty in hearing, you should make an appointment with an audiologist.”
To make an appointment for a hearing test, call 701-857-5986.
Trinity Health’s Audiology department is located in Health Center-West, 101-3rd Ave SW, Suite 203, Minot.