Wednesday, May 27, 2015

May is better hearing and speech month

May is a good time to stop and think about your hearing.  As we age, our ability to hear ages also.  Hearing loss directly affects the quality of social situations.  When a person can’t communicate as effectively as in the past, he/she may start losing self-esteem and avoid social interactions.

Isolation is an issue for the elderly population-43% of seniors feel lonely on a regular basis, according to a recent survey by the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).  Lonely seniors are more likely to decline and die faster. This highlights the importance of making sure hearing issues in adults are identified and addressed earlier.

Here is a quiz you can take to see if you have Early Signs of Hearing Loss:

•    Do other people seem to mumble?
•    Is it sometime difficult to hear other people’s voices in a noisy place?
•    Do you find other people’s TV’s or radio volume too low for you to hear clearly?
•    Do other people comment that you’re TV or radio is too loud for them?
•    Do you sometimes misunderstand what others are saying to you?
•    Do you find yourself “filling in the gaps” when you have misheard what someone has said to you?
•    Do you have difficulty following and participating in conversation, especially when there is background noise?
•    Do you have poor attention; easily distracted?
•    Are you indifferent, socially withdrawn; insecure?
•    Is your ability of hear a man’s voice easier than the voice of a woman or child?
•    Do you have complaints that some sounds are annoying or overly loud?
•    Is there a ringing, roaring, or hissing sound in one or both ears?
•    Do you have problems on the telephone?
•    Do you often ask people to repeat themselves?

If you answered yes to three or more of these questions, there could be a hearing problem and you need to be seen for a hearing test.  You can find a licensed audiologist in your area by going to The American Academy of Audiology website and look under search for an audiologist.

Hearing problems are serious.  The most important thing you can do if you think you or a loved one has a hearing problem is see a doctor or an audiologist.  An otolaryngologist, a doctor who specializes in the ear, nose, and throat or an audiologist can diagnose hearing loss.  There are many causes of hearing loss.  Some types are treatable, or even curable.  If the hearing loss affects every day life, a wide variety of hearing loss devices are available to help.  Happy Hearing!

By Guest Blogger, Dr Gayle Chaney

Dr. Chaney is an Audiologist at the Idaho School for the Deaf and Blind.  She serves on the Board of Trustees for the Idaho-Eastern Oregon Lions Sight and Hearing Foundation