Did you know? May is Better Hearing and Speech Month! For 95 years, May has been set aside as a time of recognition of the importance of communications and connecting those with hearing loss and/or speech barriers.
As many of us have experienced throughout the pandemic years and moments of isolation, communication and closeness with friends and family is so important to our overall wellbeing. However, so many people continue to remain cut-off from others as they hesitate to get their hearing checked and move forward with hearing loss treatment. Hearing Industries Association (HIA) research reports that on average, people wait four years to get their hearing loss treated after realizing that they have difficulty hearing1.
Why wait to reconnect with your loved ones and hobbies? Learn the facts about hearing loss and treatment options and take action today.
1. Hearing health impacts my overall health.
TRUE: Hearing happens in the brain, and studies show that losing our ability to hear prevents our brain from processing important signals which can increase our risk of developing dementia2. Hearing loss also presents a barrier to connecting with others and can increase our risk of social isolation and depression.
Many people who experience hearing loss also suffer from tinnitus, or a constant ringing, hissing, or roaring sound in one or both ears that can lead to distress, depression, anxiety, mood swings, and sleep disturbances, among others. There are hearing aids available today that are equipped with tinnitus masking technology that can help you manage the severity of tinnitus symptoms.
2. Hearing loss can’t be prevented, it’s just a normal part of getting older.
FALSE: Although hearing loss is most common among older adults, hearing loss can occur at any point in life due to factors such as excessive noise exposure, certain medications, head injury, history of smoking or diabetes, and genetics. It is also important to note that one of the most common forms of hearing loss, hearing loss due to noise exposure, is 100% preventable, so take precaution when listening to music through earbuds or in situations where you are surrounded by high volumes.
3. Hearing aids will make me look old…I don’t want people to know that I have hearing loss.
FALSE: Most hearings aids today are very small and discreet with nearly invisible tubing. Some hearing aids that fit down in your ear canal can also be completely invisible to someone looking at your ear! Many hearing aids are also equipped with apps that allow you to discreetly adjust the volume and settings via your smartphone. Check out the hearing aid innovations page to learn about the most recent technology.
4. Visiting a hearing care professional is the best way to treat my hearing loss and protect my finances.
TRUE: Only a hearing care professional can test your hearing, help you understand your unique type of hearing loss, and determine the best course of treatment that fits your long-term needs and lifestyle. Although you can find several companies selling hearing aids through the mail without visiting a hearing care professional, you don’t know if these devices will actually suit your hearing needs, function properly, be trustworthy with your payment details, or adhere to refund policies. Several Attorneys General nationwide have warned consumers about purchasing over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aid devices because there are currently no OTC hearing aids that have received FDA approval, and are not regulated yet to be safe for consumers.
5. Hearing aids through a hearing care professional are too expensive, it’s just not worth it!
FALSE: Hearing aids are medical devices and must undergo thorough research and development processes to be compatible with our complex ability to hear. However, there are many types of quality hearing aids at various price points that can fit your needs and your budget. There are also several ways you can find help with paying for hearing aids, including through some Medicare Advantage Plans (Part C), through foundations and local service organizations, and through healthcare financing plans.
Adults with untreated hearing loss generate 46% more in healthcare costs over 10 years than those with healthy hearing3. It pays to take care of your hearing as soon as you suspect a difficulty!