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Better Speech and Hearing Month Is the Perfect Time For an Annual Hearing Exam

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Better Speech and Hearing Month Is the Perfect Time For an Annual Hearing Exam

Did you know that May is Better Speech and Hearing Month? All month long, we’re raising awareness around issues related to hearing health. Healthy hearing is a lifelong initiative and it becomes a prominent health concern as we age. Treating hearing loss when it arises helps prevent harm to our physical and mental health, as well as preserving our quality of life.

This May is the perfect time to schedule your annual hearing exam. Getting in the habit of annual hearing exams can help catch hearing loss early. Yearly exams not only establish a clear history for your hearing, they can make it easier to detect problems and access treatment in a timely way.

Hearing As We Age

As we get older, our likelihood of having some form of hearing loss greatly increases.  You may be surprised to hear that by the time you reach age 65 the chances you will have some degree of hearing loss is 1 in 2. At age 75 that likelihood is raised to 1 in 2 and by age 90, close to 90% of people experience hearing loss.

Age-related hearing loss, also known as presbycusis, happens gradually to our bodies over time because of the nature of the auditory system. It is a combination of hearing damage that accumulates over time and the increasing delicacy of our auditory system as we age.

For detecting sound, our hearing relies on tiny hair cells in the inner ear. These cells act as sensors, triggered when they come in contact with sound waves. Hair cells allow us the tremendous versatility of our hearing, but they are also a fragile resource. Exposure to loud noise or other damaging factors can injure hair cells, which don’t have the ability to repair themselves. Damage to the cells is ultimately permanent damage to our hearing, which accrues throughout our life.

The structure of our inner ear and auditory system also becomes more easily injured with age. Hair cells and the small vibration detecting bones of the middle ear become less pliable and more susceptible to damage. Combined, these factors make an annual hearing test the smart choice as we get older.

What Is a Hearing Exam?

Hearing tests create a nuanced audiological portrait of your hearing ability. They are painless and provide excellent information about the types of sounds you can and cannot hear. Exams begin with an overview of your medical history and significant lifestyle factors, such as daily noise exposure and ways in which you use your hearing in everyday life. Your hearing specialist will also ask about any changes or problems you may have noticed to your hearing since your last exam.

A physical examination of the ear canal is done with an otoscope. An otoscope is a non-invasive medical instrument that allows your audiologist to see your ear canal clearly. The examination with an otoscope can detect signs of infection, irritation and blockage to the ear as well as issues with the eardrum.

The hearing portion of your examination will test your ability to detect short tonal sounds played at different volumes and frequencies. Tone testing can indicate ranges of frequencies that are challenging to our hearing. Hearing tests also include speech recognition testing where you will be asked to repeat spoken words you hear. This test is a good indicator of how well our hearing allows us to comprehend speech.

Don’t Wait On Your Hearing

Presbycusis is gradual and continual hearing loss, so treating it when it arises is your best course of action. Treatment with hearing aids works to preserve the way the brain hears naturally and is easiest to adapt to when hearing loss is caught and treated early. Unfortunately, most hearing loss is permanent, so without treatment, your hearing is unable to improve.

Hearing Centers of Arizona

Scheduling a hearing exam is a snap at Hearing Centers of Arizona. We’re experts in thorough, comprehensive testing and superb patient care.  If you are managing hearing issues, Hearing Centers of Arizona can help you connect you to life-changing solutions. Hearing health is what we do, so this Better Speech and Hearing Month do your hearing a favor and set up an annual audiological exam with us today.

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