Can You Hear Me Now?

There are many positives about aging. There can be wisdom, more free time and fewer family responsibilities. But there also can be hearing loss. Darn.

This usually begins subtly, kind of like vision issues do. Then one day your spouse or friend raises their voice to tell you the television is blaring. Or maybe you have to ask someone sitting right next to you to repeat what they just said because you couldn’t understand them. Or maybe your doctor describes what she wants you to do, but you don’t hear her clearly so you can’t follow the directions.

If you are noticing that you have hearing loss, you are in good company. According to the National Institutes of Health, approximately one in every three people age 65-74 has some hearing loss. This increases to one half of all people over the age of 75.

Why does this happen? There are many causes:

  • Heredity. Perhaps your mother or father experienced hearing loss as they aged.
  • Being around loud noise. This is common for those working with loud machinery or construction equipment, and even airport workers. It is also seen in those who are or have been in the armed forces.
  • Musicians also are at risk for hearing loss because of repeated loud volumes of music.
  • Viral or bacterial infections.
  • Medications
  • Head injury
  • Tumor
  • Heart condition
  • Stroke

To stay on top of your hearing it is recommended that you get a hearing test – called an audiogram – every two or three years. This way your healthcare provider can address the issue right away.

Another benefit of addressing a hearing issue is keeping peace in the home. It can be challenging for someone to deal with a loved one who has hearing loss but is not addressing it. In these situations, the person with adequate hearing may be subjected to loud volumes on the TV, radio or stereo. This can potentially affect their hearing. It also takes a lot of patience to converse with someone who has hearing loss, as words have to be said loudly and usually must be repeated.

An audiogram test is painless and can quickly determine if you have hearing loss. From that point you and your healthcare provider can decide what step should be taken next. If you haven’t had a hearing test in a long time or believe you might have hearing loss, you can call Henry Ford at 800-436-7936. You can also visit the Henry Ford Audiology website.

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Henry Ford Health System is committed to ensuring our Deaf or hard-of-hearing patients and visitors have equal access to all services. We provide the appropriate auxiliary aids and services, including qualified sign language interpreters, TTYs and other assistive listening devices, at no cost. To request assistance, call 313-916-1896 or email [email protected].

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