Posted by: seattledizzygroup | May 31, 2016

Better Hearing and Speech Month

Each May, Better Hearing & Speech Month (BHSM) provides an opportunity to raise awareness about hearing health and communication disorders.

“Communication Takes Care” is the BHSM 2016 theme chosen by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).

The ability to speak, hear, and understand language and conversation are central to almost every aspect of daily life. Yet, these skills are often taken for granted until someone loses them. For older Americans, communication disorders are among the most common challenges they may face. Unfortunately, these disorders may go untreated for years—or may never be treated. Often, lack of treatment or treatment delays are due to myths about certain disorders (such as “they are just part of the normal aging process”) or outdated perceptions of treatment. During Better Hearing & Speech Month, it’s important to prioritize treatment—because the ability to communicate takes care.

Hearing loss is one of the most common chronic health conditions, affecting 50 million Americans. It is highly prevalent among adults, often with serious impact on daily life and functioning. In fact, 8.5% of adults aged 55–64 have disabling hearing loss. Nearly 25% of those aged 65–74 and 50% of those who are age 75 and older have disabling hearing loss. Unfortunately, among adults aged 70 and older who have hearing loss and who could benefit from hearing aids, fewer than one in three (30%) has ever used them. This is in spite of the fact that hearing loss may affect everything from mental health (anxiety, depression, and feelings of social isolation) to vocational success (including premature departure from the workforce) to other health issues (among them, earlier onset of dementia)—and the fact that treatment advances and today’s hearing aids are more effective and less noticeable than ever.

Loved ones such as a spouse or adult child are often significantly affected by a family member’s communication difficulties. These loved ones are also the people who are in the best position to influence the decision to seek treatment. If you have a concern about a loved one’s hearing or speech, encourage them to seek an evaluation from a certified audiologist or speech-language pathologist. If a course of treatment does follow, loved ones play an important role in providing support—from accompanying the person to treatment visits and helping to provide medical information to being compassionate and understanding throughout the process. (For help finding a certified professional, visit http://www.asha.org/profind).

(Information from http://www.asha.org/bhsm)

The Power of Hearing

Better Hearing and Speech Month is a time to reflect on the benefits and experiences we gain because of healthy hearing.

The ability to hear is a powerful thing – hearing makes memories of special times shared with loved ones, provides understanding in work and social settings, and connects us to the world around us. In celebration of BHSM, the Hear the World Foundation created an infographic that shows some interesting facts about hearing.

Better Hearing and Speech Month 2016

(Infographic from http://www.hear-the-world.com/en/about-us/campaigns-events/better-hearing-and-speech-month/better-hearing-and-speech-month.html)

The Power Beyond Hearing

Our ears can distinguish up to 400,000 different sounds and process twice as many impressions as our eyes! Our hearing is used 24 hours a day, is the key to communication, and hence, to social interaction. The ear is man’s most efficient but also most sensitive sensory organ. However, its importance in our modern, visually-oriented world is often underestimated.

The Hear the World Foundation created “The Power Beyond Hearing” infographic to raise awareness about the importance and efficiency of our hearing, the influence our hearing has on various aspects of our lives, and how we can protect it.

Power Beyond Hearing

(Infographic from http://www.hear-the-world.com/en/about-us/campaigns-events/the-power-beyond-hearing/the-power-beyond-hearing.html)

Protect Your Hearing

Protect Your Hearing

We frequently put our hearing at risk due to unsafe listening practices and excessive noise exposure.  Noise-induced hearing loss cannot be reversed and affects people of all ages (not just older people).  Once the sensitive hair cells have been damaged, they can no longer transmit any impulses to the auditory nerve and to the brain.  The Hear the World Foundation offers these tips to protect your hearing and avoid noise-induced hearing loss:

  • A noise level of less than 85 dB is considered safe for our ears.
  • When listening to music on audio devices, keep the level no louder than 60% of the maximum volume.
  • Listen to music through headphones that fit well and decrease ambient noise.
  • Wear ear plugs at concerts, in discos, and in other noisy places. (Ear protection can reduce the noise levels by 5 to 45 dB).  Maintain an adequate distance from the source of the noise to avoid damage to hearing.
  • Deliberately take acoustic breaks and turn off all sources of noise (radio, TV, etc.).  After going to a concert or disco, or working in a noisy environment, etc. it is especially important that you give your ears a rest of at least 10 hours to enable recovery.
  • If in spite of precautions, you experience symptoms such as a feeling of pressure in the ear, a dull hearing sensation, or persistent sounds or lingering ringing in the ear, you should rest your hearing as a matter of urgency, drink lots of fluids (which improves the circulation of blood to the hair cells in the cochlea which helps your hearing to function properly), and consult a hearing specialist as soon as possible.
  • Regardless of noise exposure, be sure to regularly have your hearing checked by a hearing care professional or specialist physician.
Information from:

Hearing Protection Options:

Protect Your Hearing Guide

How loud is too loud

(Infographic from http://hearinghealthfoundation.org/blog?blogid=203)

More Information:

12 Myths About Hearing Loss

We Have to Protect Our Hearing at All Costs

© Copyright 2016, Seattle Dizzy Group. All rights reserved.

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