Welcome to "Embracing Sound," a comprehensive guide tailored for adults navigating the challenges of hearing loss. In this blog, we'll explore the seven common signs of hearing impairment, shed light on the reasons behind them, and discuss practical solutions offered by experienced Audiologist Catherene McKinney. Together, let's uncover the path to managing hearing loss and tinnitus, ensuring you get the most out of life. You can find further information on hearing assessment and management here https://www.mmhearing.co.uk/adult-hearing-assessment
The signs of hearing loss are subtle and often misunderstood, leading to delayed intervention. This blog aims to shed light on these signs and guide you on managing hearing loss and tinnitus to enhance your life quality, and keep you and your brain healthy and in tip-top condition. We have also put together a number of resources to help you, which you can find here https://www.mmhearing.co.uk/resources
Understanding hearing loss
Hearing loss is not just about missing out on sounds; it's about missing out on life. As we age, the risk of hearing loss increases significantly. Approximately 9 million people in the UK grapple with hearing loss, making up 19% of the population. As ageing is the primary cause, one in three individuals aged 60-70 and three in four over 70 experience hearing impairment. The prevalence underscores that you're not alone in this journey.
Factors such as loud noise, family history, occupational exposure, medications, and illnesses like diabetes can contribute to hearing impairment. It's not just a matter of not hearing well; hearing is a critical component of overall health and how our brains age, and impacts communication with healthcare providers and emergency workers.
The seven signs of hearing loss
Speech sounds muffled: Regional accents, fast speakers or people speaking from a distance can make speech unclear. Even a mild hearing loss can intensify these difficulties.
Difficulty hearing in noise: High-frequency hearing loss in particular affects speech clarity, making it challenging to understand words, especially in noisy environments like social gatherings or restaurants.
Pardon? - asking people to repeat themselves: If you find yourself frequently asking others to speak louder or more clearly, it may indicate a hearing loss. Familiarising yourself with lip reading, expression, and gestures becomes crucial.
Turning up the volume: Higher volume requirements for TV or music are common signs of hearing loss. The evolving style of TV drama and poor sound from flat screens can exacerbate the problem.
Difficulty using the phone: Hearing well over the phone becomes challenging, especially with unfamiliar voices or numbers. Innovative solutions, like linking hearing instruments to mobile phones, can greatly improve phone conversations.
Feeling isolated and down: Hearing loss can lead to withdrawal from social settings due to increased effort and listening fatigue. This isolation can contribute to emotional challenges like anxiety and depression, and our brain health.
Tinnitus: Ringing or buzzing sounds in the head or ears, often associated with hearing loss. While not always serious, it should be discussed with an Audiologist to explore effective management strategies.
The impact of untreated hearing loss
Untreated hearing loss goes beyond not hearing well. It affects informal communication at home, TV preferences, phone conversations, and overall engagement in various environments. It can lead to frustration, increased tiredness, and, most importantly, a cognitive decline and Dementia.
While most cases don't have medical or surgical solutions, early detection can help manage the condition effectively. You can find out exactly how hearing is assessed here https://www.mmhearing.co.uk/adult-hearing-assessment and how to interpret the results here https://www.mmhearing.co.uk/post/understanding-your-hearing-test-results
Audiologists offer various options, including hearing aids, listening exercises, and support groups. There are even hearing dogs that can help. For more information please see https://www.hearingdogs.org.uk
"Embracing Sound" is an invitation to take charge of your hearing health. Don't let hearing loss diminish the richness of life's sounds. Seek professional guidance, explore available resources, and make informed decisions to enhance your overall well-being. Remember, the better you hear, the more you safeguard your brain from the effects of ageing. Embrace sound, reconnect with loved ones, and reclaim the joy of everyday sounds. Don't wait – your hearing is your life.
If you've resonated with anything discussed in this guide, it might be time to consider a hearing aid. Remember, addressing hearing loss is not just about improving your ability to hear; it's about enhancing your overall quality of life. Seeking professional help and exploring the various hearing aid options can open up a world of sounds and experiences that you may have been missing. Don't let hearing loss hold you back – take the first step towards a vibrant, audible life!
You can find further information on hearing aids here https://www.mmhearing.co.uk/hearing-aids