Many people take their ability to hear and communicate with others for granted, even though communication is a critical part of everyday life.
Anyone who has difficulty communicating understands that, but there are likely many more people suffering from that difficulty than you—or even they—realize.
One out of every four Canadian adults has some form of hearing loss, and B.C. audiologist Dr. Ted Venema says that has a lot to do with the fact that the condition is essentially “invisible” to the outside world.
In a video series for helpmehear.ca, Venema points out that someone with vision loss, for example, might use a cane or wear glasses; society largely recognizes and understands vision loss.
But how many people know that hearing aids require a prescription, just like glasses, becuase people have different kinds of hearing loss, that affect how they hear different sounds?
Venema says the public “has a short tether of patience” for—and far less understanding of—hearing loss than other, similar conditions.
This is problematic because hearing loss can fundamentally affect people’s relationships.
“Hearing is a communicative sense, left untreated it really can deteriorate the communications between wife and husband, (or) caregivers and loved ones,” Venema says.
The most common type of hearing loss, for example, causes “trouble with treble.” People with this type of hearing loss can still hear, but they begin to lose the ability to distinguish more high-pitched consonants, and speech loses its crispness and clarity.
This is why Venema and other specialists recommend routine hearing testing for everyone older than 55.
Routine testing can give specialists a benchmark to test future hearing loss against, and can also allow for critical early intervention to help mitigate hearing loss’ negative impacts.
Venema says that, on average, people tend to wait five-to-seven years after they need them to get hearing aids.
That’s why, during Speech and Hearing Awareness month, clinics like the Okanagan’s Nexgen Hearing are offering free hearing screenings.
Nexgen’s Tom Millar says screenings are the “first step” to treating hearing loss—and treatment can do wonders for a person both in their daily life and interactions and for their long-term cognitive health.
“Improving your ability to hear and understand early on will improve your quality of life and keep you engaged longer, so that you don’t go down that road of losing connection with friends and relatives,” he says.
More information on Nexgen’s free screenings is available online.
This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Okanagan Edge.
All Think Local Stories