May is Better Hearing and Speech Month, a nice reminder to take care of your hearing health and celebrate your better hearing! Here’s a reflection on all things hearing: Better Hearing Month, hearing loss, protection and prevention, plus hearing technology!
What Is Better Hearing Month?
For over 75 years, May has been designated Better Hearing Month. This monthlong campaign creates an opportunity to publicly highlight the difficulties those with hearing loss face on a daily basis as well as the variety of support solutions available to prevent hearing loss and preserve healthy hearing.
Hearing loss is often misconstrued as only affecting older generations, but people of all age populations — from infancy to the elderly — can be affected by hearing difficulties.
What Causes Hearing Loss?
Physicians and researchers are convinced that several factors contribute to hearing loss. Heredity, chronic exposure to loud noise, certain medications, and earwax blockage affect people’s ability to hear well.
According to the National Council on Aging, untreated hearing loss has been linked to numerous other health complications such as arthritis, diabetes, hypertension, depression, anxiety, and even Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
You or a loved one should get your hearing evaluated if you are experiencing:
- Muffled speech sounds
- Difficulty hearing on the telephone
- Difficulty hearing people speak in a crowd
- Trouble understanding the voices of women or children
- Friends or loved ones complaining you turn the volume of your TV or radio too loud
Kids’ Hearing Health
According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, the top concern audiologists have about kids’ hearing health is the repeated misuse of personal tech at loud volumes that could hurt their hearing.
If preventive measures like education and protection aren’t put in place, they fear that 68 percent of widespread tech overuse could irreparably damage the communication skills of future generations.
To combat this, we recommend setting practical restrictions and modeling safe usage.
Loud music is also a concern. Custom hearing protection, like molded earplugs, is designed to help the wearer enjoy what they’re doing for longer because they’re experiencing it at a safe noise level. Teens and music lovers alike will love custom hearing protection because they are designed for people to enjoy their favorite music at a lower volume. It reduces their exposure to loud noise while enabling them to rock out to every note.
According to a study conducted by Michigan State University, an estimated 28 million people in the United States experience some type of treatable hearing loss, yet less than a quarter of those people use hearing technology to enhance their listening lifestyle.
Why would this be? One answer is the stigma long attached to hearing aids: that they’re bulky, unattractive, eat up batteries, and are often more trouble than they’re worth. Luckily, hearing aid technology — much like the technology found in computers and mobile phones — is making unprecedented leaps and bounds and offers more benefits to the wearer than obstacles.
The most advanced digital technology available to those with hearing and communication difficulties is small, sleek, and more adaptable to a person’s particular type of hearing loss than ever before.
Hopefully, through education and campaigns like Better Hearing Month, the use of hearing instruments will be considered no different than wearing eyeglasses.
A Quick Guide: Hearing Technology
Common features you should be aware of among today’s advanced digital hearing instruments include:
- Feedback cancellation, which reduces the shrill whistling sounds often associated with older hearing aids
- Voice alert technology, which sorts speech sounds from other noises and distractions in your environment, allowing you to focus on conversations with ease
- Noise-management controls, which automatically reduce any sudden or unpleasant high-level environmental noise
- Bluetooth® connectivity, a feature that streams sound from your mobile phone to your hearing instrument
Support Is Key to Attain — and Maintain — Better Hearing
Family, friends, and trusted hearing care providers create a stable team of support for those with hearing and communication difficulties. The path to better hearing is often a collaborative effort, and those combined efforts can help create years and years of better hearing.