Holidays a time to monitor, address hearing loss

By Professional Hearing & Audiology Clinics

Professional Hearing & Audiology Clinics are urging families within the Rockford area to be alert for relatives and friends who seem to have trouble hearing this holiday season.

Hearing loss affects the ability of people to celebrate the holidays with family and friends, often leading to isolation and depression. Hearing loss is one of the most commonly unaddressed health conditions in America today. More than 34 million people in the United States have hearing loss — roughly 11 percent of the population.

The holidays are a time to gather together with family and friends,” said Donald Kleindl II, BC-HIS, ACA, MCAP, director of Professional Hearing & Audiology Clinics. “But for friends and relatives with untreated hearing loss, the holiday season can be bittersweet. By staying alert to the signs of unaddressed hearing loss, and by encouraging those we love to address the problem, we can help them regain their quality of life and strengthen our relationships with them.”

Professional Hearing & Audiology Clinics are offering free hearing evaluations and consultations this holiday season.

Hearing loss occurs at all ages. For example, among people aged 46 to 64, about 15 percent already have hearing problems. Sixty percent of people with hearing loss are below retirement age. Hearing loss can occur as a result of exposure to loud music or noises.

Increasing evidence suggests that people with certain medical conditions — such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, kidney disease, heart disease and even vision loss — may be at an increased risk of hearing loss. And numerous studies have linked untreated hearing loss to a range of physical and emotional conditions.

In addition, family members play a critical role in whether loved ones address a hearing loss. More than half (51 percent) of new first-time owners of hearing aids said family members were a key factor influencing their purchase. Fifty-five percent of new hearing aids users sought treatment once they realized through testing how serious their hearing loss was.

In the vast majority of situations, hearing aids can help a person hear better. Studies have shown that hearing aid wearers experience significant improvements in quality of life and decreased depressive symptoms; have significantly higher self-concepts compared to individuals who do not wear hearing aids; and their functional health status improves significantly after three months of hearing aid use.

Many people decide to get their hearing checked because someone they love suggested it and provided support,” said Kleindl II. “If someone you love appears to have a hearing loss, please urge them to get a hearing evaluation. By taking advantage of Professional Hearing & Audiology Clinic’s free holiday evaluation and consultation, it will most definitely be easier for people to take that first, critical step in reclaiming their hearing, quality of life, and relationships. What better gift can you give someone you love this holiday season?”

To schedule a free hearing evaluation and consultation, contact Professional Hearing & Audiology Clinics inside the Camelot Tower, 1415 E. State St., Suite A1, Rockford, at (815) 964-3131.

Signs of hearing loss

People can watch for the following social, emotional and medical signs of hearing loss among their loved ones this holiday season:

Social — Require frequent repetition; have difficulty following conversations involving more than two people; think that other people sound muffled or like they’re mumbling; have difficulty hearing in noisy situations, like conferences, restaurants, malls or crowded meeting rooms; have trouble hearing children and women; have the TV or radio turned up to a high volume; answer or respond inappropriately in conversations; have ringing in their ears; or read lips or more intently watch people’s faces when they speak.

Emotional — Feel stressed out from straining to hear what others are saying; feel annoyed at other people because they can’t hear or understand them; feel embarrassed to meet new people or from misunderstanding what others are saying; feel nervous about trying to hear and understand; and withdraw from social situations they once enjoyed because of difficulty in hearing.

Medical — Have a family history of hearing loss; take medications that can harm the hearing system; have diabetes, heart, circulation or thyroid problems; and have been exposed to very loud sounds over a long period or single exposure to explosive noise.

From the Dec. 19-25, 2012, issue

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