May is Better Speech & Hearing Month
As April showers bring May flowers, it so happens that the awareness of your speech and hearing health is also upon us. As we enter into this month of better speech and hearing, we at Greentree Audiology want to inform you of ways you can stay up on your understanding and recognition of how to incorporate the significance of this occasion.
Overall, Better Speech and Hearing Month (BSHM) is to signify and bring awareness to hearing loss and the signs and symptoms associated. The American Academy of Audiology, along with the American Speech and Hearing Association, both have exceptional resources for engaging with public awareness for BSHM. It’s important to raise awareness for individuals experiencing hearing loss. This can result in early detection or even prevention altogether.
Why Should I Care?
It’s important to consider factors that can create or cause hearing loss, which could bring you and your loved ones to a discussion on ways to treat or possibly prevent hearing loss from occurring.
Approximately 36 million Americans suffer from hearing loss! What may actually be more surprising is that over half of that population are under the age of 65! According to the American Academy of Audiology, hearing loss is the third most common health problem in the US.
This is a big deal that we all need to be considering for preventative reasons along with treatment of existing loss. Many of those with hearing loss could have easily prevented their loss, but were simply unaware, or unconcerned with protecting their natural hearing. Noise induced hearing loss is a major cause of hearing loss in the US. Simply being aware of your surroundings and wearing hearing protection or even just turning down the volume, can save you and your ears from a lot of difficulty down the road.
Who Can be Affected by Hearing Loss?
Simply put: anyone and everyone, anywhere at any time. Even though this is truly a blanket statement, there is some validity to it. Some people have no understanding of where or when their hearing loss occurred, but are simply treating it at this point. Others know that due to years of noise exposure, their hearing loss has set in and it is time to address it. In the case of children, this is typically a genetic cause of hearing loss. However, approximately 12% of all children ages 6-9 have noise induced hearing loss!
How Will I Know if I Have Hearing Loss?
If you or a loved one has, or think you have, hearing loss, you may feel it’s difficult to hear people when attempting to communicate in a noisy situation. These can be anything from a small family gathering to a large crowded restaurant. You or your family member may blame others of “mumbling.” This is a clear sign of hearing loss.
You may have to ask your friends or family to repeat themselves, or you may catch yourself saying “huh?” on a regular basis. Other signs or symptoms of hearing loss can be, but are not limited to: feeling like you cannot follow a conversation, distancing yourself from social gatherings because you know you will not be able to hear in a crowd, hearing ringing or buzzing in your ears, and difficulty understanding what people say when they are not facing you.
All of these situations are normal for people with hearing loss to experience. It’s important to be honest with yourself regarding these symptoms so you can start on your path to better hearing health! If you identify with any of the above situations, schedule a hearing test at Greentree Audiology this month.
Steps to Better Hearing Health
The first step to take is to do a self-assessment. There are many questionnaires and online self-tests that can be conducted to preliminarily screen yourself. This does not determine how you should be treated, but it will give you an understanding of whether you need to see a professional or not. Here is a link for a self-test on hearing loss: Self Hearing Test
At Greentree Audiology, we feel that we provide our patients the best care and attention, with our educational and clinical background. We provide audiological services that evaluate, diagnose, and treat hearing and balance disorders from the pediatric to the geriatric population. We also prescribe, fit, and dispense amplification and assistive listening devices.
Better Speech and Hearing Month is a time for us to pull together to advocate with, for, and to our friends and family members. It’s important to maintain awareness of preventable hearing loss along with treatable hearing loss. If you or a loved one is experiencing a concern with the ability to hear and clearly understand and follow conversation, it’s time to contact Greentree Audiology for a screening or a full audiological evaluation.