It’s not unusual for many of us to regularly schedule a check-up with our doctor or dentist to manage our health. We’ve probably been going to see them for as long as we can remember to stay on top of any changes and get treatment as needed. But, when was the last time we scheduled a hearing evaluation.
Unfortunately, for many of us, the last hearing test we had was when we were kids in school. It’s time to change that! Professional hearing evaluations are a critical piece of the total wellness puzzle. If you need a little motivation to call your hearing healthcare provider and set up an appointment, here are ten reasons to get a hearing evaluation:
- Get a good baseline. Just like other areas of your health, it’s important to have a baseline of information to track. Scheduling a hearing evaluation annually, can help your hearing healthcare provider monitor and treat changes in your hearing. During an evaluation, your provider will determine if you have hearing loss and if so, what type and whether it is in both ears or just one.
- Prevent or reduce anxiety. That’s right untreated hearing loss, has been linked to increased anxiety and similar mental and emotional conditions according to the results of a study by the National Council on Aging.
- Set a good example. You never know who’s watching and how you can impact that person’s health by getting regular hearing evaluations. It could be a child or grandchild, friend or spouse who sees the importance following your example by caring for their hearing health.
- Uncover underlying health issues. Experts learn more every day about how connected the systems of the body are. This includes the ears and hearing. During a hearing evaluation, your hearing healthcare provider may find evidence of other health concerns. In fact, recent research suggests hearing loss may be an early indicator of cardiovascular problems such as heart disease and stroke.
- Reduce your risk of cognitive decline. While the connection is still unclear, untreated hearing loss is now linked to cognitive decline. There are many theories including reduced social interaction, increased load on the brain and possible changes in the makeup of the brain itself.
- Protect your income. It may seem impossible, but studies have linked hearing loss to lower lifetime earnings. Studies indicate that hearing loss is linked to both unemployment and underemployment. According to “The Impact of Untreated Hearing Loss on Household Income” report from the Better Hearing Institute, those with untreated hearing loss may, “make mistakes on the job, experience higher rates of unemployment and in general may experience an overall reduction in quality of life (i.e. anxiety, depression, social isolation, social paranoia, medical health, emotional stability, cognitive functioning, etc) which may negatively impact job performance.” All of this can impact job performance and earnings.
- Reduce your risk of falls. According to researchers Frank Lin, M.D., Ph.D., at Johns Hopkins, and his colleague Luigi Ferrucci, M.D., Ph.D., of the National Institute on Aging an increased risk of falls is a very real concern for those with hearing loss. The pair found that “people with a 25-decibel hearing loss, classified as mild, were nearly three times more likely to have a history of falling. Every additional 10-decibels of hearing loss increased the chances of falling by 1.4 fold.”
- Improve communication. Communication can be hard enough with perfect hearing, let alone with hearing loss. Skip the frustration and schedule an evaluation to determine if you are affected by hearing loss and, if so, get treated. Solutions such as hearing aids can keep those essential lines of communication open.
- Reduce the risk of depression. A hearing evaluation may not seem like the first step in improving mental health, but science is underscoring just how important it can be. Untreated hearing loss has been linked again and again to depression which, in turn, may be connected to increased risk of dementia.
- Maintain or improve your social life. Getting your hearing checked can help ensure that your social life stays active. Unfortunately, hearing loss can lead many to become more isolated to avoid frustrating social interactions and challenging conversations. Treating hearing loss is an important step to keep enjoying time with friends and family.
Hearing health is such an important part of our total wellness. Don’t forget to schedule regular professional hearing evaluations to help protect it, identify hearing loss early and manage that hearing loss to maintain your total health and wellness.