May Is Better Hearing and Speech Month
With approximately 15% of American adults reporting difficulty hearing, Bel Air-based audiologists Dr. Toni Brightwell, Au.D. and Dr. Bethany Anderson, Au.D., MPH of Hearing Associates, INC. is encouraging people to learn the signs of hearing loss—and to seek care. This is a timely message, as May is recognized nationally as Better Hearing and Speech Month.
“Our hearing is key to so many aspects of our lives, but it’s something that many people undervalue until we are having severe hearing difficulties,” said Brightwell“Even then, some of us typically wait years to receive treatment, if ever. This is despite the fact that audiologists can help people in many different ways.”
Brightwell continued: “Hearing loss is much more than a simple nuisance. Left unaddressed, it can affect us in a variety of ways, from increased risk for physical danger such as falling or missing warning signals like a fire alarm; to mental health problems, including social isolation and depression; to cognitive decline, including earlier onset of dementia. Our personal relationships, career success, and healthcare costs can be affected as well.”
Signs of hearing loss in adults include the following:
- Difficulty following conversations
- Difficulty hearing in noisy environments
- Hearing ringing, roaring, or beeping in one or both ears
- Failure to respond to spoken words
- Muffled hearing
- Constant frustration hearing speech and other sounds
- Avoidance of conversation
As a first step, Doctor’s Brightwell and Anderson urge anyone concerned about their hearing (or that of a loved one) to seek a hearing evaluation from a certified audiologist. Private insurance and Medicare generally cover evaluations. People can take this step even if they think they can’t afford hearing aids or other hearing services. Audiologists can advise people on ways to make hearing aids more affordable, and various organizations offer financial assistance.
Aside from hearing aids, audiologists can also identify other ways to improve a person’s listening and communication skills. They can also help families support loved ones with hearing loss.
Bel Air and Havre de Grace area residents who would like to receive a hearing evaluation can contact 410-569-5254 or visit http://www.hearingassociatesmd.com to make an appointment. Learn more about hearing loss at www.asha.org/public or www.ActNowonHearing.com.