Annual physicals, twice-yearly dentist appointments, yearly eye exams. Do we really need a yearly hearing test on top of everything else in our chaotic lives? The definite answer is YES! It’s not just another appointment to make. It could help you live a longer and healthier life.
What is a hearing evaluation?
Many of us make those appointments for regular check-ups with our doctors and dentists to monitor health but, unfortunately, we don’t always do the same for our hearing health. A professional hearing evaluation can be an essential part of managing overall wellness.
During a hearing evaluation, your provider will gather information about your health history and current health and lifestyle. He or she will complete an examination of your ears and then conduct a series of tests to determine if there is hearing loss, the degree and configuration of hearing loss, potential causes of your hearing loss, and options to treat your hearing loss.
It can be tempting to skip your hearing evaluations if you’ve already been diagnosed with hearing loss, don’t believe you have hearing loss or aren’t convinced your hearing loss is bad enough to worry about. That decision could mean dire health consequences down the road.
How hearing loss affects health
A hearing evaluation is a valuable preventative tool. Even more so than many realize, according to much of the research now coming out. Untreated hearing loss has been linked to serious physical, mental and emotional conditions. An annual hearing evaluation is the simplest step you can take to reduce your risk.
- Prevent or reduce anxiety. More than one study, including this one by the National Council on Aging, has linked untreated hearing loss to increased anxiety.
- Identify underlying health issues. Physically, hearing loss is now believed to be connected to many other health conditions such as high blood pressure. It’s not unusual for a hearing health expert to uncover these underlying health concerns during a hearing evaluation and point a patient to their physician for treatment.
- Prevent cognitive decline. One of the most eye-opening connections to come out in research in recent years has been that of untreated hearing loss and cognitive decline. That includes dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. While the connection is still unclear, and many theories are being explored, the evidence is compelling.
- Avoid social isolation. Untreated hearing loss often goes hand-in-hand with social isolation and even depression. Something as simple as wearing a hearing aid can reduce your risk of both, but without an annual hearing evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment may not come in time.
- Reduce your risk of falls. According to researchers at Johns Hopkins and the National Institute on Aging, those with hearing loss may be at increased risk of falls.
- Minimize health care costs. It’s not just falling that is a concern for those with hearing loss (especially untreated hearing loss), according to another study, health care costs in general can be higher. According to a Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, older adults with untreated hearing loss end up paying “substantially higher total health care costs compared to those who don’t have hearing loss.” About 46 percent, or $22,434 per person over a decade.
Minimize your risk and expenses while maximizing your health with an annual hearing test – schedule one today by contacting our office.