Senior Scene: The importance of screening for hearing loss

Today more than ever it is vitally important for all those 60 years and older to have their hearing screened at least once a year. Hearing loss is usually a very gradual process and you may be the last to realize that you are indeed not hearing properly.

A screening consists of listening to some electronic sounds through headsets. It does not matter if you hear the sounds loudly or just barely. The purpose is to determine the point you can barely hear the sounds. This is called your threshold of hearing. If your threshold is above or within the normal range your hearing is fine. If it falls below that range, your hearing and understanding ability are compromised, and your quality of life could be affected.

Hearing loss is second among all health problems that can be treated but that people tend to ignore. After all, most doctors do not routinely screen for hearing loss as part of a routine physical. Usually it is others who bring to your attention that you are not understanding exactly what is being said. Research continues to tell us that hearing loss leads to additional problems.

With hearing problems, people tend to withdraw. If you struggle to understand conversation, the tendency is to avoid those situations. Hearing loss is now tied to other health issues as well. Those with diabetes are twice as likely to suffer from the effects of hearing loss.

One of the largest contributors to falls and falling is untreated hearing loss. This information needs to be shared with the most susceptible group, those over 65. The association between hearing loss and increased chance of falling is considered clinically significant.

Hearing aids may not only improve hearing but also preserve the brain.

It is highly recommended that you take the necessary steps and arrange for a hearing screening. Your health may be at risk.

See you in two weeks, Chris