For Dr. Jennifer Anyegah, Better Hearing and Speech Month, which takes place every year during the month of May, is about getting tested.
Hearing loss is one of those things that can sneak up on a person and Anyegah, Connect Hearing's Doctor of Audiology in Dartmouth Nova Scotia (35 Baker Dr., 101 – 1-902-469-8409), is hoping people will educate themselves about hearing loss and available options.
“People over the age of 50 should be getting their hearing tested as a matter of health, but it's not something that's commonly done,” says Anyegah, adding hearing is a good way to spot other areas of concern including cardiovascular health and diabetes. “Hearing loss is very insidious, it happens very, very slowly. So it's easy to be in denial because you think nothing is wrong. It's important to have your hearing tested.”
For Anyegah, a mother of two young kids who has lived in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia for nine years and spent a decade in the field of hearing health and safety, the message has always been an important one. Better Hearing and Speech Month may be an annual occurrence but for this dedicated professional every month is Better Hearing and Speech Month. Connect Hearing's team of hearing professional have worked tirelessly to get the message out about hearing health, but Anyegah wonders if that message is getting through.
“I'm not so sure that people are aware as aware of the issues as they could be because sometimes (hearing loss) goes unnoticed,” says Anyegah. “They might become more aware if they get ringing in their ears. But that's what we're trying to promote better hearing, and that hearing well is a part of a good quality of life, a good quality of social life, a good healthy life.”
While there are difficult moments at times, Anyegah says she loves when people are able to enjoy their brand new hearing aids.
“The best thing is in fact people who find out that they have a hearing loss discover that at least there are hearing aids can help,” says Anyegah, who praised her team in the Dartmouth Connect Hearing office. “They're usually young and they're working, they love their hearing aids and they're so happy to be able to use their cell phone, iPad and Bluetooth devices that go along with the hearing aids. It just makes their world open up. So I have had lots of patients like that who have great success with the newest technology in hearing aids and Bluetooth.
Director of Professional Practice for Connect Hearing Jon Waterhouse says he is thrilled with the contributions that Connect Hearing professionals like Anyega make in the fight against hearing loss and is looking forward to getting the word out.
“I am like so many other professionals in our organization that truly wish Better Hearing and Speech Month could be renamed Better Hearing Year,” says Waterhouse, who explained hearing loss statistics are staggering. According to the Canadian Hearing Society, nearly one out of every four adult Canadians reports having some hearing loss, although closer to 10% of people actually identify themselves as culturally Deaf, oral deaf, deafened, or hard of hearing. (CHS Awareness Survey 2002) The report went on to say that 530,210 people in Ontario (4.74% of the population) are deaf or hard of hearing. (Canada Census 2006).
“Every day we are making a difference, helping those who have lost the gift of hearing regain it and educating the public about hearing health and safety,” says Waterhouse. “I hope people with listen to the great advice of Jennifer Anyegah and make their hearing health a priority in 2016.”
Anyega hopes that people will take the time to learn more about hearing and not only worry about it when they have to.
“I would just encourage everyone, anywhere to have a hearing test at one of our clinics. To meet with an audiologist or hearing expert and talk about their hearing and have the test explained to them. Just be aware of how our hearing affects our lives and our relationships,” says Anyega. “Because really, as humans we're all about making relationships and communicating with each other. To be able to communicate we need to have a voice, but we also need to be able to hear too. And sometimes that blockage of hearing can cause a lot of frustrations and break down relationships. So I think it's important for people to be aware of those things and the fact that if there are issues with your hearing there are options.”