Do You Need a Hearing Test?

Carol Story Faith Community Nurse

How many of you reading my articles every month knew that I wear hearing aids? I do and have for six years. In my case, I believe the cause is genetic. Regardless of the cause, I found that I could not hear my grandchildren and decided to take action. I am so glad I did. I just recently purchased my second new generation aids. Great new technology is amazing! 
Don’t wait! Help is available. Read on:

There are 7 signs of hearing loss – the following questions will help you determine if you need to have your hearing tested by a health professional. Be honest – you are only hurting yourself if you aren’t.

  1. Do you sometimes feel embarrassed when you meet new people because you struggle to hear?
  2. Do you feel frustrated when talking to members of your family because you have difficulty hearing them?
  3. Do you have difficulty hearing or understanding servers in restaurants, cashiers, or a receptionist at the local health care facility?
  4. Do you feel restricted or limited by a hearing problem?
  5. Do you have difficulty hearing when visiting friends, relatives, or neighbors?
  6. Do you have trouble hearing in the movies or in the theater?
  7. Does a hearing problem cause you to argue with family members?
  8. Do you have trouble hearing the TV or radio at levels that are loud enough for others?
  9. Do you feel that any difficulty with your hearing limits your personal life or social life?
  10. Do you have trouble hearing family or friends when you are together in a restaurant?

If you answered “yes” to 3 or more of these questions, you may want to see an ear, nose, and throat specialist or an audiologist for a hearing evaluation. THEY ARE FREE! (this test adapted from the Hearing Handicap Inventory for Adults)

SEVEN SIGNS OF HEARING LOSS:

  • You think people mumble
  • Difficulty hearing on the phone
  • Ringing or buzzing in your ears
  • People complain you speak to loud or too soft
  • You are avoiding taking part in conversations and social interaction
  • You ask others to repeat themselves often or to speak louder
  • You like the volume on the TV or radio louder than everyone else.

HEARING LOSS IS LIKE:

When you have hearing loss, you often lose the ability to hear higher pitched sounds, like the sound of a mosquito in your ear, women’s and children’s voices, or consonants like T, S, and F. Even though you still may be able to hear strong vowel sounds such as A, E, and I, speech becomes harder to comprehend. You may hear, but not understand.

DID YOU KNOW?

INCREASED FALL RISK: Studies show that even mild hearing loss makes people 3x more likely to fall. Hearing loss reduces alertness and ability to learn new tasks.

DIABETES: Diabetics are twice as likely to experience hearing loss. And, many medical issues diminish psychological and overall health.

DEPRESSION: Is associated with hearing loss especially amongst adults. And, leads to avoidance or withdrawl from social situations.

CARDIOVASCULAR HEALTH: Inadequate blood flow can contribute to hearing loss. And fatigue, tension, stress.

FITNESS LEVELS: Lower fitness levels results in higher risk for loss. Social rejection and loneliness impacts your life.

PAIN RELIEVERS: Can increase risk for hearing loss. Also will impair memory and ability to learn new tasks. And can cause irritability, negativism and anger.

CANCER TREATMENTS: Certain chemotherapy treatments can cause hearing loss.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

“How can a hearing aid help me to hear well?" A hearing aid is an electronic, battery-operated device that makes sounds louder to the wearer.

“What is tinnitus?” Roaring, clicking, hissing, or buzzing sounds heard in the ears. Affects up to 50 million Americans. Is the #1 service-connected disability for veterans.

“Can certain medications cause hearing loss?” Yes, ototoxic medications can damage the inner ear, sometimes permanently.

“How common is hearing loss?” About 20% (or 48 million) of Americans report some amount of hearing loss. By age 65 1 out of 3 people have hearing loss. 50% of adults ages 75 and older have hearing impairments.

“Who should I contact if I feel I have hearing loss?” Your primary healthcare provider.

COST COVERAGE

WILL MEDICARE PAY? Part B covers diagnostic hearing and balance IF DR. orders it. But does not cover hearing aids or supplies.

PRIVATE INSURANCE? Yes, depending on benefits selected at time of enrollment. Contact your plan to check.

VETERANS? Yes, but with restrictions. Need to be receiving VA benefits, and loss interferes with ADL’s.

VSP? Though an insurance plan for vision care, they also have a plan to assist in the cost of the hearing aids. This insurance is $16.00 per month. They refer you to a local reputable provider and up to 20% off the cost of the hearing aid.

NEED MORE REASONS TO FEEL GOOD ABOUT SEEKING HELP? How about seven!

  1. Improve physical health
  2. Improve emotional stability
  3. Improve sense of control over life events
  4. Improve communication in relationships
  5. Improve intimacy and warmth in family relationships
  6. Improve ease in communication
  7. Improve earning power.

PLACES THAT OFFER HELP

Speech and Hearing Clinic – Arizona State University 975 S Myrtle Ave, Tempe. 480-965-2373

Tri-City Audiology 2034 E Southern Ave Suite 1, Tempe. 480-422-4396

New Hope Center for Hearing 2600 E Southern Ave. #2, Tempe. 800-300-3025

WWW.Hearingloss.org

Area Agency on Aging Hearing Aid Program Senior Help Line. 602-264-4357

The Starkey Hearing Foundation Hear Now Program. 800-648-4327

Did you know that the Hearing Loss Association of Arizona (HLAA-Sun Lakes) meets monthly at the Robson Library next to the United Methodist church? They are a wonderful resource. Here are some local contacts to find out more about the meetings:

Liz Booth: halib72@gmail.com, Regina Milgroom reggiefaith@gmail.com

Patty Dennehy 602-652-3000 Ask for the Ed Robson Branch of HLAA.