Why You Should Talk to Your Doctor About Hearing Health

Why You Should Talk to Your Doctor About Hearing Health

Older adults within the United States are significantly more likely to have a colonoscopy than a simple hearing exam. According to a 2021 survey conducted by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, a vast majority of people had their vision examined within the last five years, while only 20 percent underwent a hearing exam.

It’s time to put hearing health near the top of your list. Here’s why you should talk to your doctor about hearing health at your next physical.

The Truth About Hearing Loss And Aging

Hearing loss can impact anyone at any age, but it’s much more likely to do so as we age. One in three people over the age of 65 has hearing loss and we have reason to believe that presbycusis, or age-related hearing loss, may begin to impact us even earlier, starting in the late forties.

Aging has a declining effect on the important cells of the inner ear, which manage an extremely important task in the hearing process. These cells collect noise from around us and turn it into sound information (electrical signals) that are sent via the auditory nerve to the brain. Our brain’s processing centers turn the sound information into meaning. 

But the inner ear cells are non-regenerative, which means that they don’t reproduce or repair themselves. So when damaged, whether by aging or another agent, the reserve of inner ear cells depletes. Over time, we have less cells to facilitate the transformation of noise into sound information. We lose access to certain frequencies and send less input to the brain. The experience is that of hearing loss. 

Younger People Remain At Risk

Of rising concern is the hearing health of today’s youth. With the ubiquity of personal devices and ear buds, everyone is plugged in at all times. We attend school and work online. We socialize and stream entertainment. Unless responsible listening practices are engaged, all of that amplified sound takes a toll on the inner ear cells —  much in the same way that aging does.

Intervening Early Helps

We have the capability to catch hearing loss and intervene early and it all starts with a simple hearing exam. Your physician can perform one for you or refer you to an audiologist, which is the specialized focus of hearing health. 

Finding an audiologist you trust can help make the journey into healthier hearing much more comfortable. They have spent years studying and practicing the art and science of helping people hear better. And most would recommend experimenting with hearing loss solutions at the beginning stages of hearing loss. Because of the way the auditory processing system works, using hearing aids is a bit more complex than sliding on a pair of eyeglasses. Catching hearing loss early can help to make the integration process less of a bumpy ride and set you up for success if the type of hearing loss you have is progressive (gets worse over time).  

Be Proactive With Hearing Health 

We all have our boogeymen of aging. For some it’s the very visible signs of graying hair and wrinkled skin. For others, it’s the invisible ways your body loses strength or mobility. Many of us don’t want to encounter hearing loss, one of those invisible markers of aging, and so we choose to ignore early warning signs like not understanding speech clearly, hoping it will go away. Or, you may even notice your hearing health has changed but decide not to do anything about it until it “gets really bad.” 

Choosing to proactively manage your hearing health is one way to take control of the situation. Instead of wondering if hearing loss is playing a role in your life, why not find out for sure? 

Protect Your Vibrant Life

Intervening in hearing loss, rather than avoiding a diagnosis, has a wide array of positive side effects. Many people who employ hearing aids report improved relationships and a vast majority would recommend them to a friend dealing with a similar problem.  

Because human connection is a foundational driver of life, hearing loss can have a devastating effect on our life’s vibrancy. Hearing loss can also impact physical health, making older people with the condition more susceptible to falls and accidents within the home. And if that wasn’t enough, there is a strong link between dementia and hearing loss. 

Investing in hearing health and exploring hearing loss solutions can help maintain familial and social relationships, protect your physical health and reduce your future risk of dementia. 

Schedule A Hearing Exam

Don’t wait for your next physical — schedule a hearing exam with our highly trained team today.