“I’m Going to Recommend a Hearing Test”
Doctors recommend hearing tests more and more frequently — not only because recent research has increased awareness of how hearing loss is a frequent early marker for many associated ailments like Alzheimer’s, but also to document baseline hearing ability for comparison against future test results.
Most doctors now recommend that everyone have a hearing test after age 40 and again when signs indicate that hearing may be compromised. It’s an important part of your medical file. Have your hearing ability documented now so that comparisons can be made down the road, especially in case of an injury or illness.
There are several common scenarios that indicate a hearing test is needed.
Hearing but not understanding (aka “everybody mumbles”)
When we hear sounds but don’t understand speech, we have hearing loss. Either the sound is not getting to the inner ear, which can be caused by wax impaction, or there’s a deeper hearing problem. Poor understanding of what’s being said is the No. 1 sign that it’s time for a full hearing evaluation.
Frustration with background noise
Hearing loss can make it hard to hear in places with a lot of background noise. This frustration often scares people into thinking that hearing aids will just make the noises louder. However, new noise cancelling technology is proving to be even more beneficial than the hearing aids’ amplification benefits.
Dependence on repetition
Asking for repeats once or twice a day may be no big thing. If you catch yourself expecting to have to ask for a repeat then it’s time to learn the score.
That surprised, “you really didn’t hear me?” look.
We all miss things — occasionally. People expect that. If others seem repeatedly surprised that you’re not hearing them then expectations aren’t being met.
Those surprised looks represent concern — not ridicule. Others raising their voice to communicate with you is meant to be helpful — not confrontational. In essence, hearing loss reduces information, which prevents you from making fair judgements. Lack of information breeds fears and suspicions, which further cloud judgments.
Loss of freedom
Are you free to go anywhere with anyone and not have to worry about hearing? Is your significant other free to live their life without having to constantly perform as your hearing aid? Those who discover the truth about their hearing loss begin their path to freedom.
This is the No. 1 concern from family members. Friends and family want you to value sharing life with them. Some patients see perusing hearing health as some kind of struggle. The reality is that well-fit hearing aids vastly reduce daily struggles and give the wearers increased energy, confidence and engagement with life.
If you’re frequently turning up the volume to the point that others complain, the problem may not be with your TV or radio, it may be your hearing. Tinnitus, or a ringing sound in your ears may be an indication of hearing loss. 80% of tinnitus sufferers have hearing loss.
A tough old cowboy confessed to his hearing specialist, “I live where bull elk whistle in the fall and high mountain peepers [little meadow frogs] sing in the snow melt. I went a bit glassy-eyed when my new hearing aids re-introduced these things to me.” Hearing loss is blindness of the ears. It can happen so slowly that you get used to the dark.
Being able to hear some people some of the time is not an indicator of hearing health.
Sometimes everything is PERFECT: there’s no background noise AND the listener is in close proximity to the speaker AND the room’s not too large AND the speaker is using complete sentences AND the speaker has no accent AND they’re talking slowly AND the speaker is facing the listener, not chewing gum or touching their face AND the speaker has a strong, clear voice. When everything is perfect, even someone with very profound hearing loss has no trouble understanding. They can miss one or two words out of a five-word sentence and never miss a beat.
People with good hearing don’t need to have everything perfect. They hear fine when life-is-as-life-is: unperfect. However, not hearing well under normal conditions points the finger at only one thing: hearing loss. At some point it’s time to stop assuming everything else is to blame and find out what the hearing situation really is. If it’s just impacted ear wax, then that’s what needs to be coming out — not blaming.
Again, don’t delay. The costs of ongoing untreated hearing loss are far too high. To schedule your hearing test with our hearing specialist, call Colorado Hearing at 970-318-2010 today. Brian Bennett and our team looks forward to meeting you.