The American Speech-Language Association (ASHA) is a collective of audiologists, speech-language pathologists, speech, language, and hearing scientists, and students who work to make effective communication a human right accessible and achievable across the United States. Every May, ASHA dedicates its efforts to raising awareness about communication disorder and the role of hearing healthcare professionals. Also known as Better Speech and Hearing Month, this year’s theme is “Communication Across the Lifespan.” This all-encompassing topic spans the importance of ear protection, proper hearing health, the effects of hearing loss, education about the newest technology available to treat hearing loss and the importance of treating a hearing loss as soon as possible.
Commit to Healthy Hearing
During Better Hearing & Speech Month, Focus Hearing urges you to make a commitment to your hearing health. This commitment can take many forms, such as protecting your hearing when exposed to high levels of noise, listening to music at a safe volume when wearing headphones, getting your hearing checked on a regular basis and seeking professional care as soon as you suspect a problem with your hearing.
The Importance of Treatment
You are not the only one affected when you have an untreated hearing loss. When your loved ones, friends and co-workers have to repeat themselves time after time, they may get frustrated with you and put a huge strain on your relationships. Often these strains can lead to social isolation and depression. Many studies connect hearing loss to an increase in one’s risk of developing mental illnesses including depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, and dementia.
The Benefits of Treatment on Relationships
According to the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), more than 48 million people in the U.S. have hearing loss. Sadly only 1 out of 4 people who could benefit from them wear hearing aids. That means 75 percent of those with hearing loss are putting their relationships at risk. Interventions such as hearing aids can not only improve quality of life, but also can improve relationship satisfaction, communication and social functioning. From having intimate conversations with their partners or socializing, people who get hearing aids find that they are once again able to engage in life.
Increased Earning Power
Not only can hearing aids improve your relationships but also it can seriously impact your earning potential at work. A 2010 study estimated 16 million people with hearing loss were employed in the United States. In almost all of these instances, these workers received less pay and were more likely to be laid off, while those without jobs were more likely to remain unemployed compared to their peers with healthy hearing. With hundreds of millions of people living with uncorrected hearing damage, the lost potential is enormous and expensive. Fortunately, there are very few jobs you can’t do once treated with hearing aids, even with severe or profound hearing loss.
The Newest Technology
Fortunately hearing aids are becoming more advanced then ever, increasing your quality of life with ease! As the level of technology increases, hearing aids become more automatic and have more features to help you communicate in difficult listening situations. For example, instead of using two channels to separate sound for processing, a hearing aid with advanced technology may have eight or more channels. This splits the signal into even smaller frequency bands and therefore offers a higher resolution of signal processing. Newer hearing aids include features such as: Multiple channels to process sound, directional microphones, digital noise reduction, feedback management systems to reduce undesired sound, and Telecoil capability that connect the user to compatible telephones with ease.
When you explore the risks of not treating your hearing loss and the benefits of hearing aids technology to remedy the situation, not treating your hearing loss just might be a no brainer. If you suspect that you or a loved one is suffering from hearing loss, don’t procrastinate any longer. Seize the moment and make this May a time to celebrate better speech and hearing. Contact us at Focus Hearing to set up a hearing test. Hearing tests are quick and painless and can get you back on a path towards better health and stronger relationships!