Baby Boomers and Hearing ~DR. MARY MADDOCK AU.D.~
Baby boomers have worked hard to stay young. They are more proactive in many aspects of their health. They place a high importance on remaining active and healthy. What about their hearing? We know that baby boomers grew up with loud music - Woodstock, concerts, Disco, Walkman’s, aerobics, Metallica and more. The facts are that 16% of Baby Boomers already experience hearing loss. That is 10 million age 45 to 64 years have a hearing loss while 29% of those over the age of 65 experience hearing loss. 1 out of 12 thirty year olds already have hearing loss.
When is the right time to find out about your hearing? What should you expect? Ifyoufeelthatpeopleare mumbling or that you are having difficulty understanding others it is time to have a complete hearing test. Generally a baseline in hearing should be established between the ages of 50 and 55.
How do you go about getting your hearing tested? There is more to a hearing test than raising your hand for a group of beeps. While that portion of the test is important it does not tell the whole story. Think about it! What is more important - how you hear the beeps or how you understand the words and conversations. If the hearing test you are given does not address your ability to understand speech and conversation then you have not been given a complete hearing test.
After the hearing test is complete you should be armed with the following information:
1. Degree of your hearing loss: normal, mild, moderate, moderate severe, severeorprofound. Apercentage of hearing loss is ¬NOT what you need to know.
2. Type of hearing loss: normal, conductive, nerve, central
3. Word understanding score in quiet at a normal conversational speech level and at a level that is easy for you to “hear” the speech.
4. Your speech understanding in noise ability.
5. What can you do to improve your ability to understand? Note that I did not say what can you do improve your ability to hear. The key here is UNDERSTANDING SPEECH!
The professional that is uniquely university trained to evaluate hearing and provide non-medical treatment of hearing loss is an Audiologist. Many audiologists now have doctorate degrees (Au.D.) in audiology. They are recognized by your insurance along with your physician as the qualified provider for administrating audiological examinations (hearing tests). What should you expect when you visit an audiologist?
1. Provide a complete history of your hearing difficulties. Ie: how do you understand speech in quiet, in noise, on TV, over the phone, in auditoriums, in groups, when you are able to see the person talking vs when you cannot see the person talking. Do people seem to talk to fast?
2. Audiological Examination that includes those beeps as well as understanding speech
3. Complete discussion of your hearing status and what can you do to understand better. Remember the audiologist cannot “make” you understand but they can provide you with the tools to improve your ability to understand.
Courtesy of www.starnewsonline.com