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It’s hard to believe that January is almost here. What will your New Year’s resolution be? Will you start a new project or learn a new skill? Whatever you choose to do, once you think of your goal, don’t get overwhelmed by the big picture, but make sure you focus on the small steps to get there. Go easy on yourself and take it one step at a time. If you found that you struggled to hear over the holiday with family and friends, then it may be a good idea to add addressing your hearing to your New Year’s goals. Hearing loss is a serious condition that is estimated to affect 1 in 8 people in the US alone, however, it often takes 7 to 10 years on average to act. If you’ve been thinking it’s time to address a potential hearing loss, here are the small steps that can get you to a rewarding result in 2022.

Signs of Hearing Loss

The biggest issue keeping people from treating their hearing loss is that often people aren’t even aware they have an issue. This is because hearing loss often occurs gradually over years. At first, it may be so subtle that you don’t recognize it at all. It comes in the loss of certain tones pitches or whispers. In younger people, it often manifests itself as trouble hearing in crowded loud spaces – environments where it’s common to blame not hearing on noise. However, over time you may find that parts of words or words in sentences are lost and that you have to ask people to repeat themselves more and more often. You may struggle to hear over the telephone or turn the volume of the TV up to hear. Over time it can get so bad that it turns into choosing to avoid social situations where hearing may be hard. You may not even be aware this is about hearing loss, but it is starting to take over how you live your life just the same.

The First Step

The first step in addressing a hearing loss is admitting you may have a problem. If you are nearing 65 it’s important to understand that 1 in3 people in your age demographic or older suffer from hearing loss so it’s a good idea to screen. Even so, hearing loss can begin at any age, due to various causes such as exposure to loud sound over years, impact to the head, chronic ear infections, or exposure to certain chemicals or drugs. It may be hard to self-diagnose or admit that hearing loss could be an issue but it’s not too hard to make sure to schedule annual hearing tests. This can monitor for a potential hearing loss before it has a chance to fully affect the quality of your life. While many think of hearing loss as just an ear issue, they fail to see how it impedes communication on personal and professional levels causing chronic depression, anxiety, loneliness, loss of self-esteem, and lack of independence. 

What to Expect at a Hearing Test

The good news is that hearing tests are painless and easy. In most cases, we will first interview you about your family history and lifestyle to better understand your hearing health and level of risk. Then we will perform a physical exam on your outer and inner ear to make sure there are no blockages. Next, we will do a series of audio tests to understand the extent of your hearing. A pure tone audiometry test occurs in a soundproof room wearing headphones. We will ask you to respond to different sounds or tones in each ear to understand the highest and lowest sounds, tones, and pitches your ears can hear. The results will be shown on an audiogram to give you a clear understanding of your hearing ability and where to go from there.

Treating Your Hearing Loss

If your test shows that you have no hearing issues which need to be addressed then you can rest assured knowing you have normal hearing., Instead focus on continuing to protect your ears this year by carrying and wearing hearing protection, eating heart-healthy, quitting smoking, and staying active. If you do have hearing loss, then it’s time to take the next step. Based on a hearing test we can help you find the best solution for your hearing loss and lifestyle. Start this year out right and schedule a hearing exam now.

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