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Better Hearing and Speech Month is a designated month dedicated to improving communication for all. Every May, the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association (ASHA) sponsors Better Hearing and Speech Month to raise awareness of an often-overlooked condition: hearing loss.
Hearing loss is often undiagnosed and neglected because it is an invisible disorder that develops over time. This is partly because hearing loss rarely occurs overnight. You’re more likely to gradually notice changes in your hearing ability and how you obtain information and communicate with your loved ones over time.
Hearing loss can cause tension in relationships with family, friends, and coworkers due to difficulties with speech recognition. As a result, ASHA uses Better Hearing and Speech Month to raise awareness about hearing loss and inspire people to take action. This year’s theme is “Building Connections,” which highlights the need to start rebuilding those connections as we exit this pandemic, and the importance of good hearing health in doing so.
The hard truth about hearing loss
Hearing loss is the third most common medical problem in the United States, affecting 20% of people of all ages. Hearing loss affects people in their 60s and older at a higher rate than the general population. Still, it also affects teenagers, young adults, and adults.
According to the American Speech and Hearing Association, people wait an average of seven years from the time they notice early symptoms of hearing loss to schedule a hearing test, consult with a hearing specialist, and seek care. During that time, hearing loss can affect many aspects of your life, including your ability to earn money, your general health and well-being, and, of course, how you interact with your friends and loved ones.
Hearing loss treatment leads to many benefits
Treatment for hearing loss is easy and comes with a slew of advantages, so why not have your hearing tested this month?
Reduced risk of dementia: Hearing loss has been attributed to a variety of medical problems in terms of physical health and well-being. Untreated hearing loss puts people at a higher risk of depression, fatigue, and anxiety. Furthermore, Johns Hopkins University researchers discovered possible connections between untreated hearing loss and dementia. As the brain fails to hear, it puts a more significant burden on the brain’s cognitive functions, leading to cognitive dysfunction and an increased risk of dementia. Fortunately, a 2011 study found that using hearing aids to treat hearing loss would help reduce the risk of developing dementia.
Improved earning power: Not a lot of people know that 60 percent of the American workforce has a degree of hearing loss. According to studies, people who seek care for their hearing loss financially benefit more than their peers who do not: on average, people with untreated hearing loss earn $12,000 less per year. Hearing loss can affect one’s memory, focus, and productivity at work, as well as one’s ability to communicate with coworkers.
Better connections: As most of us know, clear lines of communication are the foundation of all healthy relationships and how we communicate with the world around us. We all know that contact isn’t just about listening, whether we’re ordering coffee at a café, meeting a colleague for a project, or sharing jokes with our grandchildren. It’s all about paying attention. Speech recognition problems make listening and following conversations even more difficult with untreated hearing loss. As a result, if you don’t treat your hearing loss, your relationships can suffer. People with untreated hearing loss are more likely to withdraw socially and avoid situations where they may have difficulty communicating. If there is a lack of communication or the need to repeat oneself continually, it becomes aggravating for both involved.
There is, however, a way to prevent this: treat your hearing loss!
Why not take advantage of Better Hearing and Speech Month to boost your communication, earning capacity, and overall health and well-being? Our team of hearing specialists offer extensive hearing tests. If a hearing loss is discovered, we will collaborate to determine the best treatment option for your hearing needs. Please get in touch with us today!