Why so many Canadians wait seven years to act on hearing loss.
May is Better Hearing Month and at Connect Hearing we felt that this was a good time to ask Canadians a very important question. Why won’t you get your hearing checked?
Perhaps you’ve asked or been asked this question before – and you’re not alone. There are almost 4 million people living with hearing loss in Canada and it can take 7 frustrating years before many will get a hearing test or take any action to try and slow the process.
Why would anyone wait so long to get help? Well, according to BetterHearing.org there are a number of roadblocks between you and your hearing test. The thing with a roadblock is, they are easier to get around when you know they are there – let’s take a look at a few of them.
Top reasons why you won’t get your hearing checked
- You haven’t observed the change in your hearing yet. The cues that tell us our hearing has changed are not always as obvious as we would like. Imagine, you’re sitting at your kitchen table watching the birds out the window while the dishwasher is on. Is it quieter than it was before? Is that because you got a new dishwasher and the birds don’t chirp as much as last year? Or is it because you are not hearing it as much as you used to? Often other people will notice a change in our hearing before we will, and with gradual hearing loss, we may attribute changes to our environment instead of our hearing.
- Your hearing’s not bad enough yet. When is enough, enough? Our ears are complex structures that pick up signals and pass them on to the brain to be processed. Just like any other muscle, when the areas of our brain that process hearing are less active, they weaken. This can affect our comprehension, make miscommunication more likely and as a result, we may lose confidence, withdraw or stay away from social situations. Our hearing can also affect our overall health, such as increased risk of falling.
- Stigma or fear of looking ‘old’. When you think of someone with hearing loss, what do you see? Is it the hearing aid your grandparent’s wore? Just like cell phones, today’s technology has taken something once large and bulky and transformed it into an effective and efficient piece of hearing technology with clean lines. Some of the completely-in-the-canal type (CIC) hearing aids are so discreet people can’t tell you are wearing them.
So, how do I avoid becoming a statistic?
- Get a baseline hearing test. A basic hearing test is used to determine how well you hear at various frequencies. Once you have that first hearing test to compare to, your hearing care practitioner will be able to pick out any changes to your hearing health more easily – possibly before you even notice a change. Then, get your hearing checked annually, just as you would your eyes and teeth – at Connect Hearing it’s free!
- Protect your hearing. Carry hearing protection with you for travelling or when going to events or shows and avoid loud noises. Even the noise at the average hockey game can reach 120 decibels – that's as loud as a jet engine during take-off! An exposure of only 10 minutes to loud noise is enough to damage your hearing.