Have you noticed your ability to hear certain tones or in certain situations has become more difficult?
May is National Better Hearing Month in the U.S., and Maury Regional Health and the American Academy of Audiology are encouraging adults experiencing hearing loss to talk with their physician about making an appointment with an audiologist for a hearing test.
“Healthy hearing means not waiting to check your hearing until hearing loss is so significant it’s impacting your ability to participate in your work, social events you enjoy or conversations with loved ones,” said Ashley Perez, AuD, a specialist in audiology with Maury Regional Medical Group (MRMG) Ear, Nose & Throat. “Subtle changes in hearing may not be immediately noticeable but can make a big difference in quality of life. Audiologists can check your hearing, make recommendations for improving hearing health and offer tips for protecting your hearing.”
According to a 2016 study by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, approximately 15% (37.5 million) of American adults aged 18 and over have some trouble with hearing, and approximately 28.8 million could benefit from the use of hearing aids. Among adults aged 70 and older with hearing loss who could benefit from hearing aids, fewer than one in three have used them despite growing evidence that doing so could result in better long-term outcomes.
“Research demonstrates that untreated hearing loss in seniors is related to poor health outcomes, including significantly increased cases of falls and dementia,” Dr. Perez said. “Individuals with even mild hearing loss experience significant impacts in the form of reduced quality of life and cognitive health.”
While hearing aids are the most commonly recognized treatment for hearing loss, there are many factors that go into determining the best way to manage changes in hearing.
Audiologists are the specialists who are equipped to determine the underlying reason for hearing loss and determine the appropriate treatment. They can also recommend custom resources for protecting hearing and hearing loss assistive technology, including amplified and captioned telephones, captioning apps, wireless options for listening to the TV, alarm signals with flashing and vibrating options, and over-the-counter hearing aids.
“Hearing is what connects us to the people in our lives, and as we age, those social connections are increasingly valuable,” Dr. Perez said. “It’s so important that we treasure our hearing and do all we can to support healthy hearing so it lasts a lifetime.”
Dr. Perez sees patients alongside Frances Mei Hardin, MD, a specialist in otolaryngology, at MRMG Ear, Nose & Throat. Audiology services offered include comprehensive hearing and ear exams and speech-in-noise testing. A physician’s referral is required to make an appointment.
MRMG Ear, Nose & Throat is located in the Maury Regional Medical Office Building, Suite 305, at 1222 Trotwood Ave. in Columbia. For more information, call 931.540.4259 or visit MauryRegional.com/ENT.
Ashley Perez, AuD, is a specialist in audiology with Maury Regional Medical Group (MRMG) Ear, Nose & Throat.