SAN DIEGO — Did you know that May is Better Speech and Hearing Month? Are you constantly needing to turn up the volume on the TV? Do you have difficulty understanding words in a crowd? Do you feel like your family is mumbling when they speak? It may be time for a hearing test. As we get older, our risk for hearing loss increases. Nearly half of those over the age of 75 have difficulty hearing. But a growing number of youngsters are now experiencing hearing loss. Dr. David Illich, Chief Audiologist with Palomar Health, joins our Laura Cavanaugh to share ways for you to be proactive about protecting your hearing.
Hearing loss is very common. It is the third most common chronic disability for Americans over age 50.
“The person quite often doesn’t know they have a hearing loss. They’ll say I hear fine, it’s just that people mumble,” said Illich. “Getting a baseline hearing test through your physician is critical in reducing auditory deprivation.”
Hearing loss can be linked to falls, cognitive decline and dementia.
“Treating a person’s hearing loss is by far the number one remedy for reducing and preventing cognitive decline. It’s critical for the brain to hear natural sounds and speech clearly,” said Illich. “The longer a person waits with untreated hearing loss, the less the success with a hearing device.”
Early detection and intervention can be life-changing. The Welcome to Medicare Act states that in order to be accepted for the benefits of Medicare you should have a hearing screening.
More than 12% of youth are experiencing hearing loss, but this noise-induced hearing loss is preventable.
“The American Medical Association says that the fastest growing medical epidemic in the United States of America at this time is permanent sensory neural hearing loss for ages 19 years old and younger,” said Illich.
Part of the problem can be attributed to technology, music and the proximity of speakers to the ear canal when youngsters are listening to music with earbuds and streaming on their devices. Dr. Illich advises the 60-60 rule.
Keep the volume at a moderate level, no more than 60% max volume. And try not to listen to anything for longer than 60 minutes without a five minute break to allow the auditory system to rest.
Healthy hearing can lead to healthy living. It is your key to communication and connection. Better hearing can improve emotional strength and mental health. It can help lower the risk of depression, cognitive decline and dementia. Hearing and connection can help you live life to the fullest.
For more information, visit www.palomarhealth.org
Sponsored by: Palomar Health