Commentary by Marty Wood
Statistically, the U.S. has more than 27 million people over age 50 with hearing loss, yet only one in seven recognizes and chooses to address this loss. With the increased use of cellphones, ear buds and high-performance speakers, as well as exposure to damaging noise levels in our environment, hearing loss is on the rise. However, it is widely recognized that the last person to acknowledge hearing loss is the one who has it.
Why don’t we listen to what our ears can no longer tell us? Traditional hearing loss is generally gradual, occurring over several years. A common reaction is to justify hearing loss with statements like, “I have selective hearing” or “I hear just fine when people speak slowly and clearly.” In fact, most people wait seven to 10 years before seeking help.
A hearing loss can cause people to become irritable, start to withdraw socially and, in some cases, begin to forget the sounds they no longer hear. It can erode both physical and mental acuity. Studies have shown that many with hearing loss may face an increased risk of falling, dementia and depression. Many experience higher levels of stress and fatigue. Hearing loss combined with vision loss in older men has shown to increase mortality risk from cardiovascular disease. Hearing loss can affect your lifestyle and your relationships with friends and family.
Have you had your hearing tested recently? Ask those nearest you to count the times you say, “What?” Do you hear better when someone is speaking directly to you than when several people are speaking? Do you hear well in a restaurant or other group settings? Is the TV or radio volume often too loud for others? Do you hear others when they are speaking to you from another room in your home? Do you hear ringing in your ears?
Listen to others and understand what your ears can no longer tell you by getting your hearing tested today.
Marty Wood is the owner of Zounds Hearing of Fishers, 11852 Allisonville Rd. He can be contacted at 608-1310.