audiological exam being conducted

Add Improved Hearing To Your New Year’s Health Goals!

Dr. T

As the clock winds down this year, a lot of us begin cobbling together our New Year’s Resolutions. If living a vibrant and mobile life is important to you, then adding healthy habits is certainly on your list.

Just as important as your strength training program or your daily water goals is a surprising aspect of health you might be overlooking. Hearing health is an important foundational marker of overall well-being. So this year, add improved hearing to your New Year’s health goals.

Why hearing health matters

At our core, we are social creatures. We require connection and a sense of belonging to thrive. That’s why hearing loss, which fundamentally challenges verbal communication, can be such a devastating blow to our social behaviors.

Some people are born with hearing loss, but the majority of people who suffer from the condition acquire hearing loss later in life. That means that the tools they use to connect with other people are often verbal and require a good threshold of hearing ease in order to communicate. As ease in listening and conversation dissipates, many people with hearing loss find themselves withdrawing from social interaction. A sense of isolation and even depression follows.

How hearing loss works

And yet, hearing loss appears so slowly that we might even begin using withdrawal as a coping mechanism unconsciously. As aging or noise exposure damages the inner ear cells, they eventually begin to decline in number. These cells receive sound from the world around us and transform it into sound information. In the form of electrical signals, the sound information is sent to the brain via the auditory nerve. Our brain’s processing centers work to make meaning out of this information. As the hearing process, this all happens almost instantaneously.

When the number of inner ear cells decline, we aren’t able to collect the same amount of sound and the band of sounds we can hear narrows. Less sound information is sent to the brain and our experience is hearing less.

We first lose access to high or low frequencies, which makes speech difficult to understand. Our brains work harder, trying to put together a puzzle without all of the pieces. Conversation becomes frustrating and even exhausting (remember that your brain is working overtime).

Why treating hearing loss is important

One-third of people over the age of 65 and two-thirds of people over 70 live with hearing loss. Sometimes, people don’t seek a diagnosis because they think that hearing loss is something they have to deal with as they age. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Although hearing loss acquired from aging and noise exposure is irreversible, it’s highly treatable.

One sacrifice that’s common among folks with hearing loss is their sense of independence. Confronting hearing loss can restore confidence and autonomy, just from the experience of doing something scary that results in a less stressful and anxious reality in the long-term.

Moreover, hearing aids help people with hearing loss stay more physically active which in turn results in a stronger body and also reduces the risk of accidental falls. Choosing hearing aids often produces improved relationships and it even lowers your risk of a future dementia diagnosis.

Schedule a hearing consultation

When compiling your list of resolutions, remember to keep your targets accessible while stretching out of your comfort level. To work on improved hearing health, your first step is to schedule a hearing health consultation. When was the last time you had your hearing checked? For a lot of us, the answer is ‘too long ago.’

Adults over the age of 18 should have their hearing checked every ten years. 50 year olds should schedule a hearing exam every three years and people 65 and older should have an annual exam.

Make an appointment with our highly trained team. We’ll guide you through the hearing exam process, which is simple and painless. From there, we can discuss next steps from preserving the hearing you currently have to exploring hearing loss solutions. Together, we’ll chart a path forward that takes your unique life into account and points you in the direction of your healthiest hearing future.