Why You Should Talk about Hearing at Your Next Physical

Why You Should Talk about Hearing at Your Next Physical

In Hearing Health by Gold Canyon Hearing

Unlike the casual and regular screenings otherwise ordered by your physician or encountered in life maintenance activities like renewing your driver’s license, hearing screenings may be an overlooked part of your ongoing preventative health plan.

In a recent survey, Americans revealed that although healthy hearing is recognized as a vital part of a vibrant life, attention to hearing health is less than optimal. While a vast majority of respondents had their vision tested within the previous five years, only a smattering underwent a hearing exam.

One way to proactively attend to your hearing health is to talk about hearing at your next physical.

Aging And Hearing Health

There’s a chance that the most common type of hearing loss in the United States, that of which is caused by the normal aging process, will pass you by. Those who avoid presbycusis (age-related hearing loss) might chalk it up to genetics, behavioral or environmental factors or just plain luck. 

Many people ​​— as much as one-third of folks over the age of 65  — do encounter hearing loss as they age. This is because the inner ear cells responsible for some heavy lifting during the hearing process decay due to the aging process. Over time, these cells are worn away and don’t regenerate or repopulate as their numbers decrease. Instead, we have less of them to work with. 

These cells collect sound from the world around us and turn it into useful sound information which is then sent to the brain for processing. As their numbers diminish, we are able to hear less of the full spectrum of sounds and begin to lose our ability to hear certain frequencies, which is why one of the early signs of hearing loss is trouble with speech clarity. While some frequencies are received and their sound information is sent to the brain, some frequencies are simply lost, making conversation frustrating and difficult for many with hearing loss. 

The Social And Emotional Impact Of Hearing Loss

When ease of conversation is interrupted, subtle changes emerge in social patterns. People are adaptable, which is a prized trait, but it also allows for us to cope with behavioral changes that don’t serve us in the end. When hearing loss appears, people begin to avoid conversations and thus lose an avenue of connection. Depression and a sense of isolation are two frequent companions of hearing loss, negatively affecting mental and emotional health. 

How Often Should You Schedule Hearing Exams?

Fundamentally, hearing loss challenges our ability to connect and maintain the healthy relationships that bolster our feeling of being connected in the world. Age-related hearing loss is almost always irreversible, but it’s also a highly treatable condition, which is why speaking to your physician about hearing health and maintaining regular hearing exams as you get older is so important to continuing vibrant living.

Public health initiatives are responsible for the frequent hearing exams we receive through the school system in early childhood. They’re remarkably successful because identifying hearing difficulty early in a student’s career can protect them from predictable shortfalls in performance associated with undiagnosed hearing loss. 

However, once we’re out of middle school, the likelihood of checking in on hearing health drops precipitously. Experts recommend that all adults over the age of 18 have their hearing examined once each decade. As our age climbs, so does the recommended frequency of testing. At 50, you should begin scheduling a hearing exam once every three years. After you blow out the candles on your 65th birthday cake, you are advised to undergo an annual hearing screening. 

The Benefits Of Confronting Hearing Loss

In the same survey mentioned earlier, people admitted that they had some hearing difficulty but were waiting until it got ‘really bad’ before treating it. That’s an attitude shared by many and benefitting no one! The average person waits ten years before waiting to intervene in hearing loss, all the while suffering its effects in their relationships, professional lives and day to day activities. 

Acknowledging hearing loss is the first step in returning to a better hearing life. There are a multitude of proven and successful interventions available, as well as trusted professional guidance. 

Schedule A Hearing Consultation

If your hearing has recently changed or if you don’t want to wait until your next physical, schedule a hearing consultation with our team today.