If you’re dealing with chronic health issues, or even if you’re not, your hearing might not seem like much of a priority. According to recent data, hearing seems to be low on America’s list of health priorities.
It shouldn’t be. Your ability to hear can play a significant role in your health. Hearing quality is associated with fall risk, depression, social isolation, dementia, and quality of life.
Research suggests that at least half of older adults suffer some degree of hearing loss, yet most never get their hearing checked.
A recent national survey of more than 2,000 adults between ages 50 and 80 found that 80% hadn’t even been asked about hearing by their doctor.
So, it’s not entirely your fault if you haven’t had your hearing checked lately. Your doctor may be ignoring this critical health component, as well.
The survey found that people in poor physical or mental health were less likely to have hearing tested over the past two years yet were more likely to have hearing problems.
The study also found that people in the 65–80 cohort were more likely than others to have had a hearing test. However, only 28% said they had.
Hearing can slip over time, and it can be hard to notice. It’s unlikely you’ll just wake up one day wondering where all the sound went. That’s why it’s important to have hearing checked every year or two – problems can be identified and treated.
How is hearing loss treated? It ultimately depends on the cause. If it is the result of an obstruction or infection, it may be treated, and hearing might be fully restored. In other cases, it is degenerative, and hearing cannot be restored without aid.
But don’t let that scare you. The negative stigma about hearing aids is truly outdated. Today’s devices are so small they are hardly noticeable. Wearing one has the potential not only to improve hearing and re-integrate you into a full life but may have the potential to reduce the risk of falls, limit the chance for dementia, and much more.