May is Better Hearing and Speech Month!

May is Better Hearing and Speech Month!

In Communication, Hearing Health, Hearing Loss, News, Research, Signs & Symptoms by Kyle Sims

Kyle Sims

Celebrate Better Hearing and Speech Month this May, and make an appointment for a free hearing screening at Southeast Hearing Centers. Every year, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association selects a new theme for Hearing and Speech Month. This year’s theme is “Communication Across the Lifespan.”

Hearing loss affects the quality of your life. It has an impact on your physical as well as your mental health and at Southeast Hearing Centers we strive to help you achieve the best hearing possible – no matter what your age or where you are on the path to better hearing.  So, this May, schedule a hearing evaluation as part of a promise to yourself to live your life to the fullest – and bring a friend – they will thank you for it!

Hearing Loss in the United States

Two out of three children in each 1,000 born have detectable hearing loss in one or both ears and almost 15% of children between 6 and 19 years old have hearing loss in one or both ears. Nearly 15% of the adult population or about 37.5 million people, self-reported in a national health survey that they have hearing difficulties.

Almost every newborn child in the United States undergoes hearing screening. Unfortunately, even those infants who have hearing issues fail to get the proper follow-up and treatment. It could be due to vanity, or perhaps the idea that hearing loss is just part of growing older, but adults fail to get the proper care if they have hearing loss. Only one in seven, that’s 14%, of adults over the age of 50 with hearing loss, get and use hearing aids. People are quick to get their vision corrected but for some reason don’t show the same urgency for getting their hearing corrected.

Signs to Watch For

In children some signs that would indicate hearing difficulties include: lack of attention to noise, no response when name is called, problems following simple verbal instructions, delays in speech and language development, pulls, or scratches at ears, academic difficulties especially in reading and math, difficulty making friends at school and poor social interaction skills.

In adults, the signs of hearing loss include: buzzing or ringing in the ears, failure to respond when spoken to or responding inappropriately, muffled hearing, difficulty following a conversation when background noise is present, withdrawal from social situations and depression.

Heavy Impacts of Untreated Hearing Loss

Good hearing is essential for children because listening is how they develop their communication skills and awareness of language as well as sentence construction. Not treating hearing loss in a child can impact that child for a lifetime. Untreated hearing issues will force them to always be in a sort of “catch-up” mode. It will take them longer to reach the same level as their peers in terms of achievement in the areas of academic, personal and social development. It has a potential domino effect on mental and physical health into adulthood as well as career choices and opportunities for advancement in a career choice.

Untreated hearing loss in adults can lead to hypertension, sleeping disorders, diabetes, propensity for falls, depression and early on-set dementia. It can cause relationship difficulties and one study done in England found those relationship difficulties can lead to divorce.
An American writer gives some insight into the effects of her husband’s untreated hearing loss on their relationship in a blog post she wrote. She said she missed the intimacy of just having a conversation and, in fact, conversations consisted of a shouted series of nouns like “dinner?” “television?” “bedtime?” One of their favorite activities was dining out and that fell by the wayside because he struggled to hear the server through the background noise. He also couldn’t carry on a conversation at a loud restaurant. They started going to parties separately and leaving separately because he found dealing with the noise and the issues trying to hear were exhausting.

There Is Good News

A large survey done by the National Council on Again reports adults who use hearing aids have significant improvements in many areas of their lives including relationships at home and work, mental health, sense of safety, social life and overall quality of life.

At Southeast Hearing Centers, we keep abreast of technological advancements in the audiology field. We can help you find and use the correct model of hearing devices that fit with your lifestyle and expectations. You can even take that model for a test drive so you are sure it will work for you and do what you want before you purchase it.