Check hearing often, expert advises
Hearing is a serious issue.
That's the message Sherry Appleby at Hearing Aid Specialists in Yuma wants to get across, noting that it's important on a year-round basis to remind people to take care of their hearing.
“More than 55 million people in the United States are currently experiencing some degree of hearing loss,” she said. “According to the Arizona Commission for the Deaf and the Hard of Hearing, there are more than 700,000 people in Arizona who are hard of hearing, but not everyone realizes there is something that can be done to prevent further loss.”
Appleby, who is a National Board for Certification in Hearing Instrument Sciences specialist, said that even if you think your hearing is fine, some major indicators that you may be losing your hearing include:
• Frequently ask people to repeat themselves.
• Often turn your ear toward a sound to hear it better.
• Understand people better when you wear your glasses or look directly at their faces.
• Lose your place in group conversations.
• Keep the volume on your radio or TV at a level that others say is too loud.
• Have pain or ringing in your ears.
• Notice that some sounds remain clear (often low-pitched sounds such as the bass in music) while others may seem fuzzy (frequently women's and children's high-pitched voices).
Appleby said simple steps can be taken to help determine if a person is experiencing hearing loss.
“The first thing you want to do is take the proper steps to ensure your hearing doesn't deteriorate any further. Have your hearing evaluated by an audiologist or hearing specialist. Then discuss possible treatment options based on your degree of hearing loss.
“Hearing aids are great for even slight hearing loss and can help prevent further damage. Personal listening systems can help single out noises or reduce background sounds to sharpen your hearing.
“The consequences of untreated hearing loss are very real,” said Appleby. “Many people are aware that their hearing has deteriorated but are reluctant to seek help. Perhaps they don't want to acknowledge the problem, are embarrassed by what they see as a weakness, or believe that they can ‘get by' without using a hearing aid.
“Unfortunately, too many wait years, even decades, before getting treatment. But time and again, research demonstrates the considerable negative social, psychological, cognitive and health effects of untreated hearing loss ... with far-reaching implications that go well beyond hearing alone. In fact, those who have difficulty hearing can experience such distorted and incomplete communication that it seriously impacts their professional and personal lives, at times leading to isolation and withdrawal.”
Appleby said there are many tools out there to help people facing this situation. One is amplified telephones, designed so a person sounds clearer without turning up the decibel level of everything around you, she said.
For more information, call Appleby at 726-7112.
Appleby has been dispensing hearing aids and assistive listening equipment in Yuma since 1980. She is also the founder of the Hearing Loss Association of America-Yuma Chapter.
Also, visit www.acdhh.org for more information about services and resources available.
Sarah Womer can be reached at email@example.com or 539-6858. Find her on Facebook at Facebook.com/YSSarahWomer or on Twitter at @YSSarahWomer.