We’re all concerned about our health. We consult our physician to check our blood pressure and cholesterol. We consult our dentist to preserve our teeth. We consult our optometrist to check our vision. However, few people regularly consult their audiologist to check their hearing. Let’s explore 4 reasons why making hearing tests is an essential part of your annual health checkup.
CHECKING IF YOU HAVE A HEARING LOSS
According to Statistics Canada, 40% of Canadian adults have at least a slight hearing loss. However, not everyone who suffers from hearing loss consciously knows that they do. Hearing loss is very sneaky; it settles slowly over the years. It can start with missing a few words here and there and escalate to having trouble following common conversations. In the beginning stages of hearing loss, it can be easy to attribute the missed words to other factors (the other person speaking too softly, noise, etc.). The only way to know for certain whether one presents a hearing loss is to visit an audiologist for a hearing test. Getting an annual hearing test is an excellent way to keep track of your hearing health.
CHECKING IF YOUR CHILD HAS A HEARING LOSS
For children, getting an annual hearing test is particularly important. Close to 4 out of 1000 canadian children are born with a hearing loss or will develop one during childhood. Hearing loss can have major consequences in children. It can prevent the child from properly developing oral language. Since it’s an obstacle to social integration, it can impact the child’s social development. Plus, since the child will have trouble understanding the instructions given to him, hearing loss can also cause problems related to autonomy. The child cannot speak for himself and say he suspects he has a hearing loss; only a hearing test can reveal a hearing problem. For all these reasons, getting an annual hearing test for your child is very important.
OPTIMIZING HEARING LOSS TREATMENT
Regarding adults, getting a hearing test at the very first signs of hearing problems can help optimize the eventual treatment of the problem. A hearing loss that is uncovered early can be treated much better than one that has settled for many years. That is because the brain is like a muscle: if it’s not trained, it weakens. That’s particularly true for the hearing zones of the brain. When sounds haven’t been heard for many years, the brain “forgets” how to process them correctly. Hence even if the hearing loss is compensated in the ears, the message transmitted to the brain isn’t well interpreted. This makes hearing treatment more difficult for people who have lived a very long time with hearing loss before seeking professional help. On the contrary, hearing loss that is identified and treated quickly doesn’t allow the hearing zone of the brain to “forget” how to process certain sounds; the treatment is hence optimized. Getting regular hearing tests allows rapid detection of any hearing problem and the best treatment possible.
For children, it’s even more important because their brains are very plastic: they change and adapt rapidly to situations in which they are placed. If the child is not properly exposed to sounds, his hearing system cannot develop well.
MANAGING THE CONSEQUENCES OF HEARING LOSS
Your audiologist is the professional of your hearing health. When consulting him for an annual hearing check, he can help you make the most of your communication abilities and manage your hearing loss in the best way possible. He can guide you to the technological tools most suited to your situation and give you precious tips and tricks to make the most of your hearing. He can also help you manage troubles related to your hearing loss, such as tinnitus. Living with a hearing loss is hard: consulting your audiologist regularly can help make the task easier.
At ODYO, our team of experienced audiologists can help you make the most of your hearing. We offer complete hearing tests as well as a multitude of other services at our 4 locations in the Greater Montreal area.