More than 11 percent of the population has hearing loss that affects everyday life - that's more than 34 million people. How can you tell if you need a hearing test? Answer the following questions to help determine if a hearing evaluation is necessary for you:
- Do you have a problem hearing over the telephone?
- Do you have difficulty following a conversation when two or more people are talking at the same time?
- Do people complain that you turn the TV volume up too high?
- Do you have to strain to understand a conversation or feel tired after a long conversation?
- Do you find it difficult to hear in a noisy background?
- Do you find yourself asking people to repeat themselves?
- Do you misunderstand what others are saying and respond inappropriately?
- Do you have trouble understanding the speech of women and children?
If you answered YES to any of these questions, you will benefit from a hearing evaluation.
Your sense of hearing can be vital to your health - both emotionally and physically. Your ability to lead an independent, social and emotionally balanced life may depend on how successfully you can communicate with others. In addition, untreated hearing loss has been linked to reduced income potential, as well as to many health problems such as stress, depression and isolation. Also, researchers at Johns Hopkins University report that there is a link between dementia and hearing loss and that interventions - even simple ones such as hearing aids - could delay or prevent dementia by improving patients' hearing.
Oftentimes, you may not notice that you have any difficulty hearing because most hearing loss occurs gradually. It is typically a friend, co-worker, spouse or other family member who points out the deficit, so make sure you take note when someone mentions you are having difficulty hearing. If you suspect your hearing has changed, it is important to discuss this with your physician. Hearing loss is a health problem that can be easily detected, and there are many options available for treatment. Your physician will most likely request that you have your hearing evaluated by an audiologist.
During a hearing test, your ability to recognize sound will be evaluated, and several issues will be discussed, such as: what you feel about your hearing level versus others' perceptions of hearing ability; what modifications you have had to make because of your hearing issues; and in what situations you would like to hear better. Since your hearing may also have an impact on your family, it is important to bring a family member with you who may help in this assessment.
Based on the results of your evaluation, specific recommendations will be made regarding your treatment options - whether it is a medical or surgical intervention, a hearing instrument, or even simple counseling on communication strategies.
For more information on a hearing test or to schedule a hearing evaluation, call Mount Nittany Physician Group Audiology at 814.466.6396, or visit mountnittany.org.