Quad Cities, IL/IA

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It’s Just a Hearing Test


By Rachel King, AuD

Maybe you’re starting to notice that you don’t understand conversations as well as you used to. Maybe a spouse or other loved one is nagging you about your hearing. Does the TV volume have to be turned up? Have you been snuck up on and surprised by someone’s presence more often that you remember? If any of these are sounding familiar, you probably have already begun to suspect you might have a hearing problem. But what’s the big deal? Why is it so important to have your hearing evaluated?

The most common causes of hearing loss are aging and hazardous noise exposure, but these are not the only causes of hearing loss. Hearing loss can also be caused by genetics, certain medications, and other medical conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Problems in the ears such as infections, hardening or stiffening of the middle ear bones, or damage to the hearing nerve by tumors or viruses also play a role in our hearing health.

There have been many advertisements and media stories about companies offering online hearing tests. A basic test like this will give you an idea as to whether or not you have hearing loss and how severe the loss is. However, it cannot detect the cause of your hearing loss. Audiologists do thorough comprehensive testing of your hearing to determine what type of hearing loss you have and whether or not your hearing loss is caused by a concern that needs to be addressed by a medical physician. While most hearing loss has a benign cause, it is important to make sure that we are not overlooking a larger problem.

There are other reasons why having your hearing evaluated is important. A recent study by experts at Johns Hopkins as part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey published in June 2013, indicated that older adults with hearing loss were more likely to require hospitalization for illness and injury than those without hearing loss and were more likely to suffer from mental disorders.* Hearing is a very important part of our overall health and quality of life. Hearing the sounds around us is what connects us to our environment and to the people in our lives.

Does this mean that if you have hearing loss, you cannot live a full life? Of course not! As long as you are willing to take action and be proactive about your hearing health, you can still have a healthy and full life. We don’t know enough about the relationship with hearing loss and the other health issues reported in the Johns Hopkins study to know if treatment of hearing loss reverses those effects. It is important to point out that there were people with normal hearing who still suffered some of the same health issues as those with hearing loss, just not as many. We do know that patients who seek help for their hearing loss early tend to have better success with hearing aids and hearing loss solutions. It has to do with engaging your brain and keeping the hearing portion of your brain active. When people remain active and able to hear conversations, they tend to not withdraw from social activity, whereas those who cannot hear well do. And positive social interaction has been correlated with better quality of life.

Now that you know these things, maybe it’s a good idea to come in and have your hearing evaluated so that you can make more informed decisions about whether or not you need to do something about it! It’s not just a hearing test. Your hearing health is a big deal!

For more information about options for hearing loss, call Audiology Consultants, P.C., at 563-355-7712 or visit www.audiologyconsultants.com.

Source: www.hopkinsmedicine.org
Photo credit: BanksPhotos/iStock