October is National Audiology Awareness Month & National Protect Your Hearing Month. If you have concerns about your hearing, now is the time to receive a complete audiological evaluation through WakeMed Physician Practices (WPP) – ENT, Head & Neck Surgery. Our experienced ASHA-certified audiologists will make the appropriate recommendations for hearing amplification, and if necessary, they will help you obtain, fit and learn to use hearing aids while considering your personal needs and lifestyle.
“It’s important to get an evaluation if you have a concern. Untreated hearing loss has been linked to depression, isolation and withdrawal. Your ability to understand speech can also deteriorate over time. Sensorineural hearing loss (hearing loss in the inner ear) is permanent, and over time, it can get worse,” advised Genevieve Spiliopoulos, MS, CCC-A, F-AAA, a board-certified audiologist with WPP – ENT, Head & Neck Surgery. “The more access you have to sound, the more connected you are to the world around you.”
She added, “Many people have the misunderstanding that hearing aids are only for older people, but this is not true. A lot of young professionals use hearing aids. They are much smaller now in addition to being sleek, modern and discreet. You can even stream music, your phone or your TV through them.”
Protect Your Hearing
Even if you do not have any concerns about your hearing, this month is a good opportunity to think about ways you can protect your hearing and help avoid any future loss. According to the American Academy of Audiology, approximately 36 million Americans have hearing loss and one in three developed this loss as a result of noise exposure.
Many familiar sounds can put you at greater risk for noise-induced hearing loss, such as:
- Recreational sports
- Mowing the lawn
- Attending a concert
- Gun shots
- Car races
- Car stereos or iPods® at full blast
- Planes taking off
- Playing in a band (especially kids!) or orchestra
It is important to know that sounds can become harmful if they are too loud and last too long or if they are very loud and sudden. Noise should never be painful or make your ears ring, and you should never have to shout over background noise to be heard. Additionally, if you have decreased or muffled hearing for several hours after exposure, there is reason for concern.
Luckily, there are ways you can help protect your hearing if you are ever in a situation that presents loud noise.
- Wear hearing protection, such as ear plugs. If ear plugs are something you think you may need for your daily life, work and/or hobbies, you can have them custom-fitted through WPP – ENT, Head & Neck Surgery.
- Turn down the volume on your car stereo, iPod/MP3 player, radio and TV to a reasonable level.
- Walk away from the noise! Keep as much distance as possible between you and any loud source of noise.
- Never put anything in your ear, with the exception of hearing protection.
For more information on hearing loss and how to protect your hearing, visit www.HowsYourHearing.org. Learn more about WPP – ENT, Head & Neck Surgery, and find a location near you, by visiting our website. We evaluate and treat all ages, including infants, children and geriatric adults. And remember, if you have concerns about your hearing, don’t wait another minute to schedule a hearing evaluation.
“Facts About Noise-Induced Hearing Loss” handout by the American Academy of Audiology