New Year's Resolution: Get Your Hearing Tested

New Year’s Resolution: Get Your Hearing Tested

In Hearing Health, Hearing Tests by Dr. Chris Lawson

Dr. Chris Lawson

The new year is already here, and for many of us, that means a new list of lofty new years resolutions. Whether you want to work out more, follow a healthier diet, or start planning for that holiday, unfortunately the numbers say you’re not going to succeed in all of your year goals.

But you might want to keep this one. When thinking of your health this year, scheduling a hearing test should rank at the top as one of the most important things you can do this year for your hearing and general health. Good hearing enhances your ability to remain socially connected and is linked to a number of health, social, and even financial benefits.

Your hearing may not be too bad yet, but changes in hearing happen gradually, and you may not have realized how bad it actually is. Perhaps it’s a little harder to understand conversation on the phone than it used to be, or you’re struggling to follow conversations, especially in groups like during that Thanksgiving dinner you hosted last year.

Trying to live your life with an untreated loss of hearing can have a greater impact than you would think. The body is remarkably good at adapting (but not healing) to maintain communication with others. You may, for example, compensate by instinctively looking to the lips of your speaker in noisy environments to help you understand better. But make no mistake, sound processing parts of your brain are being unused as a result of compromised hearing. This will mean they eventually atrophy as a result of underuse.

How common is hearing loss?

You may be surprised by the predominance of hearing loss – 360 million people develop hearing loss worldwide, including about 20 percent of Americans. This number rises to one in three from the age of 65!

With that said, less than one in three of those people aged 70 and over who would gain from hearing aids are actually using them. And what’s worse is that people wait, on average, 10 years to get their hearing treated. In that time, irreversible hearing loss will take root.

There are many reasons to get your hearing tested this year. Here are some of the most common.

1. Improve your social relationships this year

Hearing aids can help improve your relationships greatly. Using hearing aids can lead to better interaction with loved ones, on the job or in social situations. This doesn’t just mean better connections with loved ones–even the simple pleasure of regular small talk with the store clerk can add so much to your day.

2. Increase your earning potential this year

Were you aware that scheduling a hearing examination could be the first step in helping you earn more money at work? As strange as it appears, untreated hearing loss has a detrimental effect on potential earnings.

The Better Hearing Institute published a study in 2011 which found untreated hearing loss meant that people lost average of about $30,000 per year in potential income. This income shortfall was minimized by a whopping 90-100 percent when hearing aids were used. Why is this the case? Untreated hearing loss makes it harder to communicate with your co-workers on the job, leading to mistakes, miscommunications and a general reduction in your effectiveness t work.

But hearing treatment makes a big different. Approximately 91 percent of hearing aid users in a recent European study across 5 countries revealed that hearing aids were seen as “useful” or “extremely useful” in the workplace.

3. Maintain your brain health this year

Early treatment of hearing loss also has significant benefits for your brain function. A Johns Hopkins University study recently found that untreated hearing loss is associated with an increased dementia risk. Your cognitive capacities are spread more thinly when your brain is grappling to make sense of unclear sound signals. As a consequence, the brain may be exhausted by the increased cognitive load which results. This cognitive load is strongly correlated with an increased risk of dementia later on in life.

With hearing treatment however, sound signals become clearer, which means less work for your brain in noisy conditions.

Evergreen Audiology Clinic

It’s time to add a yearly hearing test to your list of annual health check ups. Even if you don’t suffer hearing loss, tracking the results will help you if your hearing declines in the future.

A hearing test is straightforward, pain free, and non-invasive–and it will not take much of your time at all. If you’ve undergone shifts in your hearing capabilities, we’ll help you determine the next steps to improving your hearing health. Contact us today at Evergreen Audiology Clinic for a hearing test!