May is Better Hearing Month, drawing attention to almost 20 million Americans with untreated hearing loss. Audiologists are educated to provide hearing and balance care to people from infancy to adults. Like other healthcare fields, there are lots of new procedures and products that are making this better than ever.
In the past decade, huge improvements have been made due to infant hearing screening programs in virtually all states. This catches problems early and allows for early intervention. With intervention such as a cochlear implant (artificial hearing) in the first six months of life, babies and young children with hearing impairment can often learn to communicate almost normally.
Modern hearing aids and assistive listening devices make it possible for people with hearing problems to participate in group conversations, watch TV without turning the volume up excessively high, understand at worship services, successfully use the phone, and hear the sounds they've been missing. Over 95% of people with hearing problems can successfully wear hearing aids, according to the American Academy of Audiology.
Healthy Hearing Facts (Courtesy of the Audiology Foundation of America)
- Hearing impairment currently affects 10% of the population and is the 3rd most common chronic health condition in the U.S.
2. One out of every three adults over 65 has a hearing loss
3. Hearing loss contributes to social isolation, dementia, and depression
4. Every adult should have a baseline hearing test by the age of 30
5. Adults over the age of 40 should have an annual hearing test
6. Individuals with hearing and balance problems should seek care from a doctor of audiology (Au.D.)
7. Hearing aids are the beginning of successful treatment for hearing loss. Training in their use is needed and follow-up is essential, as retraining is often needed to help the brain interpret sounds.
8. Hearing healthcare is constantly improving due to new and improved technology and specialized care provided by doctors of audiology.