How did the holidays go? Were you able to follow along with the conversations and holiday cheer with your family? Or were you feeling like you were left in silence, not understanding the conversations?
If so, it may be time for you to have your hearing checked and start the new year with a new you. Not being able to hear can lead to negative consequences, such as reduced social interactions, depression and cognitive decline.
One of the first steps in determining if you need hearing health care is having your hearing checked by a licensed doctor of audiology. This is a quick and painless office visit to determine where your hearing stands. It is always good to have a baseline of where your hearing is, so that you can compare it each year. At age 50, you should have an initial hearing test. If it is determined that there is a hearing loss that can be treated with hearing aids, then your audiologist can discuss your options with you. The sooner your hearing loss is treated, the more successful you will be with hearing aids.
If you are on the fence on whether or not you are ready to have your hearing checked, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do people seem to mumble or speak in a softer voice than they used to?
- Do you feel tired or irritable after a lengthy conversation?
- Do you sometimes miss key words in a sentence or frequently ask people to repeat themselves?
- When you are in a group or crowded area, is it difficult for you to follow the conversation?
- Do you need to turn up the TV or radio louder than your family likes?
- Is carrying on a telephone conversation difficult?
- Has someone close to you mentioned you may have a problem hearing?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, a hearing evaluation could make a difference for you in this new year.
By Dr. Christa Nelms, contributing writer and Doctor of Audiology at North Georgia Audiology in Woodstock, Ga.