If you're like most people, looking back at past achievements and setting new goals is something you do at the beginning of a brand new year.
And like most, health goals are probably on top of your list – weight loss usually being a high priority for most people. But have you thought about your hearing health?
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, nearly a fifth of all Americans 12 years or older have hearing loss so severe that it may make communication difficult. The report went on to say overall, about 30 million Americans, or 12.7 percent of the population, had hearing loss in both ears. That number jumps to about 48 million, or 20.3 percent, for people who have hearing loss in at least one ear. These numbers far surpass previous estimates of 21 to 29 million.
Jon Waterhouse, Manager of Professional Practice for Connect Hearing Canada says when assessing goals, people often think about things that they can see or hold. But hearing safety and health is one of those things people tend to ignore until its too late.
“You don't have to have a hearing problem to make hearing health a priority in the New Year,” says Waterhouse. “It's okay to say my goal is to have a new car, get out of debt, be a better parent, finish school – these are all positive, life enhancing goals. But my challenge to you is to ask yourself what you can do to be a better friend to your ears in 2015. Not only that, but to also ask yourself what you can do to be a better ambassador for hearing health and safety. There are many people living with hearing loss today who look back and wish that they had made goals like this in their past.”
HEARING HEALTH GOALS FOR 2015
1. Visit a Connect Hearing clinic.
Get a free hearing test for yourself, or speak to one of our friendly technicians if you have concerns about a loved one. Our clinics are located across the country and we offer information about signs of hearing loss, as well as new trends in hearing aid technology.
Waterhouse: “I hope everyone will visit a Connect Hearing clinic for a free hearing test. Too many people are living with hearing loss who don't need to be.”
2. Talk about it with your parents and grandparents:
Find the courage this year to have this very important conversation about hearing loss. One of the most difficult things for to communicate to a loved one the difficult fact that they are losing their hearing. For a senior citizen, it can be a terrifying thing to face and the result is often isolation from family other family members. Nobody wants to have uncomfortable conversations but it's important to get all the cards on the table so that they can know there is help and that they aren't alone.
3. Talk about it with your kids and other young people in your life:
Bottom line is this – too many young people play music too loud and many of these youngsters are destined to have hearing issues when they get older. Make 2015 the year we talk to our children about hearing health and safety.
Waterhouse: “Again, so many of us are really good at keeping our children safe, but we may not be as good at protecting our youngsters against unforeseen dangers. Understand this – just because your child is sitting quietly listening to music on their headphones and doing their homework on a couch doesn't mean they aren't in danger. Be vigilant with headphones.”
4. Purchase hearing protection:
One of the easiest, and most cost effective ways to protect your hearing is by buying a set of earplugs. If you are in a job that is stressful on your ears – music hall security, construction site, airport luggage handler - then it's obvious and if it isn't, read this.
But you may find other activities may be a threat to your hearing. Some movies and concerts are shockingly loud, and you may find having hearing protection is a real life saver.
5. Get quiet and listen:
Make a point to give yourself some quiet time this year. A vacation doesn't have to be at a loud amusement park. Listening to music doesn't have to be a loud experience. Not that there's anything wrong with amusement parks or music, but challenge yourself to hear the important things that are so often missed in a fast-paced world. The sound of rain hitting the driveway, the purring of a cat, wind flowing through tree leaves. Remind yourself that there are some people in our world who can't hear these things, and ensure that in 2015 you are doing everything you can to appreciate the sounds of life.
There's is no better way to make hearing health a priority than by listening.