Photo: Getty Images
Have you ever even heard of healthy hearing habits?
If not, you’re probably not alone. Relatively few Americans appear to pay much attention to their ears, according to a recent survey conducted by Wakefield Research on behalf of EPIC Hearing Healthcare.
The survey found that only a quarter of U.S. adults have had their hearing checked in the past two years.
In contrast, nearly two-thirds of Americans make a trip to the dentist at least annually. Three-quarters wear some type of corrective lens — either glasses or contact lenses — to address poor eyesight.
The survey also revealed that very few understand the risks to hearing presented by a number of different conditions and behaviors, including diabetes (22 percent) and smoking (14 percent).
Granted, it’s hard to believe that evidence showing how smoking harms hearing would be the game-changer that gets people to quit their habit, considering that people are more than aware of the other substantial health risks linked to tobacco use.
But overall hearing health would likely improve if the topic was more often emphasized by physicians and other health experts. According to EPIC, only 8 percent of employer-based wellness programs include hearing health.
But according to EPIC, only one in five people who would benefit from hearing aids actually have them. Even worse, people who don’t discuss hearing issues with their doctors often do not adopt habits to prevent hearing loss.
Hearing loss is often a problem that snowballs, explains EPIC. Dr. William Luxford, medical director of House Clinic. He says that people who begin to lose their hearing engage in behavior that exacerbates the problem, such as turning up the volume on their TV.
“A lot of people aren’t aware how important preventive care is for their hearing health,” he says. “Regular, comprehensive hearing exams by an audiologist are the best way to establish a baseline for your hearing and ensure any hearing loss is caught early so further damage can be prevented or minimized and hearing can be improved as quickly as possible.”
Americans don’t do much to avoid hearing loss