Hearing loss is one of the most prevalent health issues in America. One out of every five people in the country has some type of hearing loss, but only a shocking 20 percent of those who may benefit from treatment actually seek help.
During May, we recognize Better Hearing and Speech Month as a time to raise awareness of hearing loss and to educate the public on ways it can be detected and treated. Hearing loss knows no boundaries —it can affect infants, teens and adults — and it’s vital for those who are struggling to know that there are many options they can turn to for help.
No matter the level of severity, when someone is suffering from hearing loss, the first step in treatment is acknowledging that there is a problem. People are hesitant to recognize their hearing loss for all kinds of reasons. They may not realize that their loved ones are struggling to communicate with them, they don’t want to appear old or weak, or they don’t want to pay for costly devices. However, research shows that treating hearing loss ultimately leads to a better quality of life, so those struggling loss should no longer put off seeking help.
It’s not always necessary to purchase an expensive device if you’re hard of hearing. Mobile technology has continued to develop ways to make our lives easier, and that doesn’t stop with addressing health issues. An array of apps have been launched for smartphones and tablets to help users with hearing loss. These apps range from those that assist with volume control to others that translate speech to text. There are even apps that teach users and their loved ones how to use sign language and that give tips on how to better communicate with those who are hard of hearing. No matter what your need is, there’s likely an app that will work you and your loved ones.
Hearing aids are a common solution to treating hearing loss. They come in all shapes and sizes, and can either fit into or around the ear. To obtain a hearing aid, a hearing technician will need to assist in finding the appropriate size and amplification. Hearing aids effectively improve hearing by delivering sound into the ear canal. They often require technical tweaks and adjustments, but are an effective solution to hearing loss.
Before assuming that hearing aids are the only devices that help with hearing loss, it’s a good idea to research other technologies that can improve your communication just as well. Amplified telephones are as helpful as hearing aids to those with hearing loss. They operate by boosting the incoming sound and can be customized for all levels of hearing loss.
Better Hearing and Speech Month is the ideal time to address your loved ones’ hearing loss and help them seek treatment. Research has proven that ignoring hearing loss negatively affects the overall wellbeing of those who have it because they often end up feeling isolated and that they are missing out on important details of the lives of those around them. Untreated hearing loss creates a greater risk to physical and social wellness, and the longer hearing loss is overlooked, the harder it can be to treat and manage. Talk to your loved ones today about their options.