If you’re saying “excuse me?” or “what’s that?” more often than ever before, you’re not alone. According to the Hearing Loss Association of America, 20 percent of Americans report some degree of hearing loss, with 1 in 3 suffering by age 65. While your ears might not be as young as they used to be, that doesn’t mean you need to continue to live with the effects of hearing loss.
Signs of hearing loss
Believe it or not, you could be experiencing hearing loss without even knowing it. According to Dr. Megan Myers of Swift Audiology, it can take up to seven years for someone to realize they have hearing loss. That’s because hearing loss often occurs gradually over the course of a lifetime — not all at once.
“One of the most obvious signs of hearing loss is when someone says ‘People mumble all the time,’ or find that their spouse is often repeating things,” Myers said. “In fact, it’s often the loved ones that notice that they’re not hearing before the actual patient realizes it.”
According to Mayo Clinic, other symptoms of hearing loss include withdrawal from conversations, difficulty hearing consonants, turning up the volume on televisions and radios and avoidance of social settings.
Prevention is key
Seven years is a long time to go without hearing clearly. That’s why Swift Audiology focuses on prevention.
“Early detection of hearing loss is a crucial part of the rehabilitation process. When the hearing loss is detected early and treatment begins, the brain can adapt to the different listening environments. The longer people wait to treat hearing loss the more distortion of the nerve occurs,” Myers explains.
“I always say the best time to get your hearing checked is when there are no symptoms at all,” Myers said. “That’s why we offer complimentary hearing evaluations.”
Not only does a screening help identify any possible issues, but it also provides a good baseline to which we can compare their hearing to later.
Treatment is critical
Leaving hearing loss untreated can have a myriad of effects on your life. Aside from the obvious inconveniences — like an inability to enjoy a movie or favorite radio station — people suffering from hearing loss have also been known to withdraw from social situations and experience feelings of depression and isolation as a result.
“We are here to help patients reconnect with their families,” Myers said. “Often, if they wait too long, they withdraw from society and their loved ones because they can’t hear in certain situations. We help them experience life again.”
Additionally, Myers cited recent and ongoing studies from Johns Hopkins University that link hearing loss to the cognitive decline seen in Alzheimer’s and dementia patients.
“We don’t actually hear with our ears, we hear with our brain, that’s why it’s important to treat hearing loss early,” she explained.
Getting treatment 'swiftly'
Patients experiencing hearing loss are often surprised by how quickly — and clearly — their hearing can be restored. Myers suggests starting with a hearing evaluation from Swift Audiology.
“Patients notice the excellent service and care at Swift Audiology from the first time they set foot in the office” she promised. “We really pride ourselves on providing exceptional patient-centered care. All of our annual check-ups and hearing aid cleanings are free,” Megan explained.
Swift Audiology has 5 office locations around the greater Pittsburgh Area. The founder, owner and Board Certified Hearing Instrument Specialist, Debra Swift, has been helping others hear better for over 29 years. If you would like to experience our professional help and service, call Swift at (412) 347-4595 or visit www.SwiftAudiology.com
This article is brought to you by Swift Audiology.
A journalism graduate from Brigham Young University, Kristen Price has experience writing in a variety of fields, including art and culture, health and fitness and financial and real estate services. Kristen has written for USA Today, SFGate and the Knot.