Pop open the bubbly and ring in the new year! 2017 will bring many things; for the 48 million individuals in Thousand Oaks and throughout the U.S. with hearing loss, the new year brings an opportunity for better hearing.
Most individuals with hearing loss wait an average of seven years before seeking help. This is partly due to the fact that they don’t want to admit there is a problem and they don’t want to deal with the solution; many people think wearing a hearing aid means they are old.
Hearing aids have come a long way since the ones your parents or grandparents wore. Modern devices are more compact and comfortable than ever before. Some styles are placed deep in the ear canal, making them virtually invisible. Others include features like Bluetooth compatibility for added versatility and ease of use. Your Thousand Oaks audiologist can find a device suitable for your unique lifestyle, cosmetic preference and budget.
The first step down the path toward better hearing is getting a screening. This involves a series of tests used to determine your type and degree of hearing loss. Two of the main tests are pure-tone and speech testing.
Pure-tone testing is used to determine the faintest tones you can hear at a variety of pitches. You will be asked to sit in a specially designed sound booth and wear a pair of headphones. A series of tones will be played through the headphones; every time you hear a tone you are instructed to raise your hand or press a button. Your results will then be recorded on an audiogram, which is a visual representation of how well you can hear.
Speech testing is able to measure how well you understand speech. The tester will read a list of words aloud; you will be asked to either recite the list of words back or simply indicate if you heard them. Your speech reception threshold (SRT) and speech detection threshold (SDT) will be measured; these results are also recorded on your audiogram.
Once your type and degree of hearing loss is determined, your Thousand Oaks audiologist will be able to help you decide upon the right course of treatment. For most, this will be the use of a hearing aid.
The earlier you treat your hearing loss the better the outcome. If you think you may be suffering from hearing loss, schedule an appointment to have your hearing checked. This may be the easiest new year’s resolution yet. Make 2017 the year you can hear.