Don’t Put Off Getting Your Hearing Checked

audiologist tests man's hearing

by David Smith, JCA Board Member

Approximately one in three people between 65 and 74 have hearing loss, and 50% of those over 74 are hard of hearing.  If you are over 65, you may have wondered how well you are hearing and whether you may benefit from a hearing aid. To be certain, you will want to get tested and determine which hearing aid is right for you and what the costs are.  This blog post and the ones following will explore how to determine if you have hearing loss, how extensive your loss is, and if you can benefit from a hearing aid.  If it turns out that you are a candidate for a hearing aid, there are several options that may work for you.

First, a disclaimer.  I am a member of the Board of Directors. I am also a hearing aid user.  While I am knowledgeable about hearing loss and hearing aids, I am not a hearing professional, and this piece is not intended to give advice to individuals with hearing problems.  However, if you read it and the installments that follow, you will have the necessary knowledge to help you make good decisions regarding your hearing.

You may have noticed that in a noisy setting like a restaurant that you are straining to understand what the person in front of you is saying.  Your spouse seems to mumble a lot more than 20 years ago, and you like to turn the sound up on the TV while others think it’s just fine.  Even if you have no problem hearing others in a normal conversational setting, you still may be experiencing hearing loss that is causing you to strain to understand what others are saying.  It happens gradually to about half of us as we age. It’s called age-related hearing loss or presbycusis.

Less than a year ago, I noticed that I was having trouble understanding what was being said when I went to plays and found that I was struggling to understand what others were saying when I was in a noisy environment.  I made an appointment with an audiologist and was surprised to find that I had a meaningful hearing loss in both ears, especially at the higher frequencies, making it hard to understand words containing an “s,” “h,” or “f.”  My hearing aids have largely solved my problem.

So how do you find out if you have hearing loss and how severe it is?  The best way is to visit an audiologist or otolaryngologist and get tested. If it turns out that your hearing is fine, lucky you.  If you learn that you do have hearing loss and that you can benefit from a hearing aid, you’re ready for the next step.

Upcoming blog post:  Hearing aid choices and the new, less expensive, over-the-counter hearing aids.