Health

When should you have your hearing checked?

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By Brandt Culpepper

Do family or friends comment on your television volume being high? If you ask people to repeat what has been said, or often think others mumble, it may be time to get a hearing screen. If you have a hearing loss, the longer you wait, the more difficult it is to do something about it successfully. There is a large degree of “use it or lose it” with your hearing system. Other signals include having a hard time hearing over the telephone. Do you hear better in one ear over the other? Do you have a constant ringing in your ear that interferes with your lifestyle?

It is estimated that 6 million people in the U.S. have hearing loss between the ages 18-44 years. A lot of people wait until they are so frustrated, or their family members are so frustrated with trying to communicate with them, that when they do come in for a check-up, they have lost some of the ability to pick up on sound.

In celebration of May as Better Hearing and Speech Month, Northside Hospital’s Audiology Department is offering free hearing screenings in Sandy Springs and Alpharetta on Wednesday, May 20. To schedule an appointment, please call (404) 845-5555 and press “0” or visit bit.ly/1bDnHIm

Even with a hearing loss, you might not need a hearing aid, but it’s good to get a baseline exam to find out where you stand. Hearing loss can happen so gradually that a lot of times people don’t recognize it. It’s a lot easier to work with people when hearing loss is caught early. Having access to sound that is so vital to our communication can greatly reduce some of the stress we feel under difficult communication situations.

As we age, there are a lot of people who believe it’s normal to lose hearing, in fact, 5 in 10 people over the age of 60 have hearing loss. Because people are living longer, it’s typical for wear and tear to occur to hearing. And just like eyesight, while some see within normal limits as they age, a lot of people don’t. Even if it’s typical to develop a hearing loss, that doesn’t mean it’s normal or that help is not available. The frequency information that provides the clarity and the meaning to speech, intelligibility, are all in the higher frequencies, and those are the frequencies that go first when somebody is losing their hearing. Hearing loss can be very isolating if not treated. If you have any concerns about your hearing, please visit a licensed Audiologist.

Brandt Culpepper holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Audiology from the University of Washington. She is certified in Clinical Competency in Audiology by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, and is a Fellow of the Association. She is a Supervisor in Rehabilitation Services at Northside Hospital. For more information, visit northside.com or call (404) 851-8912.