Every May, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association celebrates Better Hearing and Speech Month. It’s a time to raise awareness about communication disorders, and encourage family, friends, and coworkers to learn more about hearing loss. Communicating with friends and loved ones brings us joy and connection, and those who can’t hear or speak easily often have a hard time interacting with family and friends. If you’re one of the 48 million Americans with hearing loss, Better Speech and Hearing Month is a great reminder to look after your hearing health, and watch for the common signs of hearing loss.
Hearing Loss Makes It Hard to Communicate
We often take our hearing for granted until something goes wrong. We never think twice about meeting friends for dinner at a crowded restaurant, or having noisy family dinners at home. However, that all changes if you have hearing loss. Hearing loss is a gradual process, and you may not notice at first that your hearing abilities have changed. After some time, you’ll have difficulty communicating, as you fail to hear someone speak to you from another room, or can’t make out what’s been said.
Hearing loss makes it hard to communicate, and you’ll often ask people to repeat themselves. Not only that, but you struggle to communicate during group conversations when several people are talking at once, such as during a family gathering or a meeting at work. When you’re unable to hear what’s been said, you can’t contribute to the conversation, and you may find yourself feeling anxious, stressed, or socially isolated.
The Signs of Hearing Loss
Have you been struggling to follow conversations? Watch for these signs of hearing loss in your personal and professional life to find out if you have hearing loss:
- Frequently asking people to repeat what they’ve said.
- Feeling as though people are mumbling or speaking very softly.
- Turning your head so that your “good” ear can hear the conversation.
- Struggling to understand conversations when there’s a lot of background noise, such as in a restaurant, or in the crowded office.
- Relying on facial expressions to help you understand what’s been said.
- Hearing a ringing or buzzing sound in your ears.
- Turning up the volume on the TV, radio, or phone until your family complains about the volume.
- Sleeping through your alarm, or failing to hear a timer, the ticking of the clock, or the turning indicator in the car.
If any of these signs of hearing loss describe you, and you’re struggling to communicate, you need to take steps to treat your hearing loss.
Treating Hearing Loss
Hearing loss can be mild, moderate, or severe, and depending on the kind of hearing loss you have, your treatment options will vary. Most people treat their hearing loss with hearing aids. These sophisticated digital devices are capable of some amazing things, and they’ll help you communicate easily. Programs and features include speech enhancement to help you focus on speech sounds, and background noise reduction, so you can listen without straining to filter out distracting sounds. Some devices will automatically switch between programs and settings, or even allow you to geotag settings, so that every time you arrive at that location, your devices will automatically adjust to the appropriate settings.
Many hearing devices can be connected to your smartphone using Bluetooth technology, so you’ll have full control over volume and program controls from your phone. You’ll also be able to stream audio from your phone to your hearing aids, which act like wireless headphones. Other programs include music listening programs, or machine learning programs that help you enjoy hearing in any setting.
Are you ready to do the right thing for your hearing health? Visit us today at A&A Audiology for a comprehensive hearing test. Together we’ll find out exactly what sounds you’re missing, and you can see these results on an audiogram. Once we discover your unique hearing loss, we’ll recommend the best hearing aids to help you communicate at home and at work. Choose the style that suits you, and pick the programs that will help you hear clearly. Whether you’re working from the office or working from home, clear hearing will help do your best work. Join us in celebrating Better Hearing and Speech Month by taking a hearing test!