The importance of early hearing loss detection in people over 50

May 15, 2011 by Sonia Lamarche

The importance of early hearing loss detection in people over 50

When our children head back to school, eye exams, dental checkups, vaccines and even auditory tests should make the list of important things to do to get them started on the right foot. For adults, annual medical checkups are now the norm over the age of 50. But where does hearing health fit in?

Although close to one in five people aged 45 to 65, and nearly one in three people over the age of 75, suffers from some degree of hearing impairment, we have not made a habit of undergoing hearing tests as a preventive measure. In fact, until our ability to hear is compromised, most of us do not realize just how vital it is. We take for granted that hearing and understanding come naturally to us. But as we get older, deafness slowly and gradually sets in. It is a false assumption that grandpa, who got his hearing aids at 87, never needed them beforehand. More often than not, family and friends will pick up on a hearing problem long before the person in question does. Early detection is thus crucial in preventing, monitoring and, most importantly, acting on hearing loss.

That is why audiograms are recommended for preventive reasons starting at the age of 50.
Among other things, an audiogram helps identify the frequencies at which there is hearing loss and the impact of this on how a person understands speech. For instance, high-frequency hearing loss results in difficulties understanding female voices and consonants in words. Does it seem like the people around you are always mumbling? You could have high-frequency hearing loss! 

Once you come to terms with your deafness, you are ready for hearing aid fitting. Audioprosthetists are the professionals who sell, fit and adjust hearing aids. The effectiveness of your hearing aid fitting will depend on your determination to understand speech and the many other sounds life has to offer. Taking care of your hearing health today can help prevent the harmful effects of hearing loss on your quality of life.

Don’t hesitate to consult a hearing health care professional at one of the Lobe Santé auditive et communication multidisciplinary clinics for more information.

Reference:
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (www.nidcd.nih.gov).