Do I have a hearing loss? If so, how might it affect other aspects of my health?
By Sherry Whitfield and Karl Hallsten
Have you been asking yourself lately, “Do I have a hearing problem? ” Here are some questions and information that will help you decide for yourself. Do you constantly have to ask people to repeat themselves? Do you hear someone’s voice but can’t understand their words? Do you have to have the television or radio so high that it bothers others? Do you decide not to attend parties, meetings, classes, church, etc. because you can’t hear? Do you find yourself nodding and smiling, but you aren’t sure about what someone just said to you? Do you have relatives or friends telling you that you have a hearing problem?
Hearing loss affects the social, emotional, psychological, and physical well-being of people. Ongoing research indicates that physical and cognitive affects and concerns have been linked to even mild hearing loss.
Hearing loss affects many aspects of an individual’s life. As you have more difficulty understanding a conversation easily, you may start to become isolated socially. It can affect all of your relationships. After a certain point, there may be a loss of income if the individual has a harder time doing ‘normal hearing’ tasks, such as talking on a telephone. There are some new technological ways to help employees with hearing loss, including captioning phones. Learning about how to use these Assistive Listening Devices (ALD’s) can help a person with hearing loss become empowered again.
You may be saying to yourself: “Is it possible that I might need a hearing aid at some point? But my hearing is not so bad right now. I can wait a little while longer to get tested and get aids, if I need them… after all, they do cost quite a bit. Besides, if people see me wearing them, they might make me look older or like I’m losing it.” However, there are problems with waiting to do something about your hearing loss. Delays in getting hearing aids will reduce the level to which hearing can be restored. “If you don’t use it, you lose it.” Research points to even a mild or moderate loss as being a problem that affects other areas of a person’s health.
Recent research indicates that even a mild to moderate hearing loss could cause diminished brain function that affects you in ways that we are just now beginning to understand. The results are not final and more studies are being done. But studies done by researchers at Johns Hopkins and the National Institute on Aging found that people with uncorrected hearing loss are much more likely to develop dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. According to their findings, people with uncorrected, severe hearing loss were five times more likely to develop dementia than those with normal hearing. They believe that even having mild hearing loss doubles the risk of cognitive dysfunction. That risk, says co-author Frank Lin, appeared to increase once hearing loss begins to interfere with the ability to communicate – for example, in a noisy environment, such as a restaurant. (To Be Continued)
Post expires on Thursday December 13th, 2018.