Woman Reading to Man with Hearing Loss

Say what? A short piece on hearing loss.

“I think the dress is going to work out just fine. It may be a bit tight, but maybe I’ll lose five pounds by May,” I said.
Mom: “What’s that?”
I said, “I think the dress is going to work out just fine. It may be a bit tight, but maybe I’ll lose five pounds by May.”
Mom: “The dress is pink?”

And so goes the repetitive conversation. Various thoughts run through your mind.
Is it dementia? No. Is it Alzheimer’s, did she not understand the statement? If you’ve encountered this situation, you know it can be a constant ordeal of repeating everything sometimes once, twice, or even three times. “What is going on here?” you ask.

Unfortunately, for most of us getting on in age, it’s called hearing loss. It usually doesn’t happen suddenly, but over an extended period of time. You may not even notice it’s happening, but believe me, your family and friends sure do.

According to the Hearing Health Foundation, there are ten questions which will help you to understand whether professional help (a doctor prescribing hearing aids) is needed:
1. Do you have a problem hearing over the telephone?
2. Do you have trouble following the conversation when two or more people are talking at the same time?
3. Do people complain that you turn the TV volume up too high?
4. Do you have to strain to understand conversation?
5. Do you have trouble hearing in a noisy background?
6. Do you find yourself asking people to repeat themselves?
7. Do many people you talk to seem to mumble (or not speak clearly)?
8. Do you misunderstand what others are saying and respond inappropriately?
9. Do you have trouble understanding the speech of women and children?
10. Do people get annoyed because you misunderstand what they say?

If you answered “yes” to three or more of these questions, you may want to schedule a professional hearing evaluation with a hearing healthcare professional.

Losing one’s hearing can be very detrimental. I remember crossing the street one morning and not really looking both ways since the light was red and traffic had stopped. Needless to say, if a car hadn’t beeped at me, I would never have heard the electric train speeding down the tracks until it was too late! If you’re still in the working world and your hearing is impaired, you will be missing out on a lot of important conversations, which can either make you, look apathetic, stupid, or both!

About one-third of Americans between the ages of 65 and 74 have hearing problems. About half the people who are 85 and older have hearing loss.

If you think you’re experiencing a loss of hearing, see a doctor immediately for a correct diagnosis and proper testing. The appropriate doctor is called an otolaryngologist- one who specializes in the ear, nose and throat. This doctor not only will do a thorough exam, get your medical history and run some tests, but also may refer you to an audiologist. The audiologists are trained to measure your hearing loss by using an audiometer. The audiometer will test your ability to recognize different sound pitches and loudness. An audiologist will also measure you for the proper hearing aid.

Sometimes, hearing loss can be caused by a build-up of wax in the ears, a bacterial infection, certain medications or it could even be heredity. That’s why, instead of guessing or assuming ‘it’s just old age’, get checked out by a professional.

By staying away from continual noise exposure of more than 85 decibels, we can protect our ears and hopefully, reduce damage. What makes up noise equaling or exceeding 85 decibels you ask? Check out the list below:
1.) The faintest sound the human ear can detect is labeled 0 dB, whereas the
noise at a rocket pad during launch approaches 180 dB;
2.) A quiet whisper is approximately 30 dB;
3.) Normal conversation is 60 dB;
4.) A lawnmower is 90 dB; and
5.) The sound from an iPod has been measured at 115 dBs.

If you or someone you know is experiencing hearing loss, get familiar with the risk factors and symptoms, seek a professional to be tested and most of all, protect your hearing from loud noises. Hear me out…don’t miss out on life!

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