Hearing loss is known as an ‘invisible’ health condition. But that doesn’t make it any less urgent or important to seek professional treatment. Make it your New Year’s resolution to ensure your hearing is in great shape, and live life at your full potential!
Could I be affected?
One in six Australians will experience hearing loss – it’s a really common condition so there’s no need to suffer in silence.
But many of you still do. On average, people wait five to seven years to seek help for their hearing loss after noticing symptoms. That’s far too long to be missing out on magical moments. Plus, the sooner hearing loss is treated, the better the outcome and the easier it is for your ears and brain to learn to work together again.
It’s a myth that hearing loss only affects the elderly. While the natural aging process does cause hearing loss, there are a number of other causative factors that can impact anyone at any age. The primary one is excessive noise exposure, especially as we’re spending more time connected to technology through earbuds and headphones.
However, because the symptoms of hearing loss can be progressive and gradual, it’s not always easy to spot on your own. That’s where a professional can do the heavy lifting for you! If you think yourself or a loved one might be experiencing signs and symptoms of hearing loss, your first stop should be your local hearing health specialist. You can also try our online hearing test for an indication on whether you need to take further steps.
What do I do next?
At your local clinic, a hearing professional will be able to complete a comprehensive assessment of your hearing health. It’s not as scary as it sounds… in fact, it’s not scary at all! The diagnostic tests are not invasive, and will involve some gentle examination of the ear area. You’ll also pop on a pair of headphones to check your hearing on a range of tones and frequencies.
There will also be some two-way discussion between yourself and your hearing health professional about specific hearing challenges you might face. For example, maybe you really do it tough when there’s lots of background noise, like in a busy restaurant. Or perhaps you’re on the phone a lot for work. These things are all vital for your audiologist to know.
Your hearing professional will use all this information to build a complete and individualised picture of your hearing loss, if any. He or she will explain their findings to you. You will then discuss together which treatments will be appropriate for your type of hearing loss, budget and lifestyle.
What’s involved in treatment for hearing loss?
Less than five percent of cases of hearing loss can be treated medically or through surgery. For the 95 percent majority diagnosed with hearing loss, hearing aid technology is the gold standard of treatment.
Modern hearing aids are incredibly advanced, and very discreet. Some devices are even completely invisible. There are many different types of hearing aids, each with different features and benefits that a hearing professional will walk you through. There are plenty of cool lifestyle features available too, such as models which stream iPhone content directly to your ears!
This personalised service is why it’s important to only purchase hearing aids through a professional, as opposed to an online retailer. No two people will have the exact same hearing loss, so consultation with a professional is the only way to know which solution is right for you. Also, each technology solution requires the right customisation – and a period of adjustment – to get results. This might take a few visits to your hearing professional over the first few months to get it just right. As tempting as the bargain basement prices may be, it’s just not worth it – you may even cause further damage to your hearing.
Your hearing healthcare professional will become an important part of your healthcare team. Going forward, he or she will help you with the adjustment period as well as ongoing support and servicing for your chosen hearing aid product. You’ll also visit them at the clinic annually, for check-ups to track the trajectory of your hearing health.
Don’t spend a moment more wondering if hearing loss is negatively impacting upon you and your loved ones. Book an appointment to see your local hearing professional today, and make 2018 your best year yet!