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common sense - Hearing college
Why is it important to test your hearing?
Time:2016-10-14

Why is it important to test your hearing?

Like eyesight, hearing gradually deteriorates, especially as we age. Hearing loss over time, to a certain extent, is a part of the natural aging process. If it’s only natural for both senses to dull, then why are people more willing to test their eyesight and get prescriptions for eyeglasses more than they are to test their hearing? This could be because eyesight is our primary sense for viewing and perceiving the world around us.

Much of the reluctance of using hearing aids stems from fear of being perceived as impaired or ill, since they used to be difficult to conceal. The technological advances in hearing aids since the 1980s have resulted in nearly invisible, affordable hearing aids, and even completely invisible cochlear implants. Still, many people avoid even getting a hearing test.

Without good vision, we feel more lost than we are without perfect hearing. However, hearing deserves more credit than we give it. Through hearing, we perceive emotion and subtleties in language and intonation. Hearing provides the intimacy of an experience that vision alone cannot provide.

Try watching a movie or TV drama in closed captions only and then with sound. Doesn’t the movie soundtrack add to the experiencde? Doesn’t the suspenseful creak of floorboards provide a much more fulfilling experience than simply reading [sound of floorboards creaking]?

Understandably, mistaking the word “trash” for “cash,” or having to read closed captions may not seem like dire enough situations to warrant shelling out thousands of dollars for hearing aids. However, simply attributing hearing loss to the natural aging process and subsequently avoiding getting tested is more dangerous than you think it is.

The ear plays the main role in controlling your balance,  according to Dr. Frank Lin at Johns Hopkins University, who has found that “even mild hearing loss can triple the risk of falling.” Hearing loss has also been linked to depression caused by social isolation, and it has recently been linked to dementia due to the reduction of brain activity in the auditory cortex.

Often, people don’t even notice that their hearing has deteriorated to the point where they need hearing aids, since it’s such a gradual process, usually occurring over the course of years.

In fact,  although that average person reports having hearing issues for a only a few months, they have usually really had the problem for seven to ten years.

Denial of hearing impairment, the steep cost of hearing aids, and the social stigma of wearing hearing aids are the most common reasons why people simply don’t get their hearing tested.

However, with technological advancements, the benefits of getting tested for hearing aids, including less risk for depression and dementia, definitely outweigh the costs. There are now affordable AcoSound hearing aids—significantly less than the thousands of dollars people traditionally pay for hearing aids. Further, hearing aids available today are typically so small they are often unnoticeable.