Nowadays, everything seems to have a national holiday. Whether its national ice cream day or national periodic table day, even the most mundane objects have their moment in the spotlight.So why don’t we focus just as much on our own health?
For years, Coastal Hearing has celebrated May as “Better Hearing and Speech Month” to raise awareness of this area of your health.
“Hearing loss, unfortunately, has gotten very little attention in our society because it's an invisible event,” says Rick Steighner, audiologist at Coastal Hearing. “It's something that you can pass somebody down the street and really not understand that in fact they might have hearing loss, or they might not understand that they might have hearing loss.”
Drawing attention to hearing loss isn’t the only goal of Better Hearing and Speech Month; it’s only just the beginning. So why is this month so important?
Free Hearing Tests Aren’t Enough
According to the Hearing Loss Association of America, about 20 percent of Americans, or around 48 million people, experience hearing loss. Hearing loss is also the third most common physical condition in America, after arthritis and heart disease. So why do so many people avoid taking a simple test?
“Often people see a free hearing test sign and think ‘Oh, that's a really good idea but I don't have time to do it’ or ‘I’m getting along, I can hear so and so’,” Steighner says. “But there's a lot more behind that, and reasons why people don't get hearing tests.”
The reason, says Steigner, is a stigma with having poor hearing. Taking a test is one way to admit to yourself that there is a problem after all; and many aren’t yet ready to face that, even if the truth is free.
Hearing Loss Isn’t Just for the Elderly
Better Hearing and Speech Month also aims to draw awareness to the fact that hearing loss isn’t just a problem for the seniors. Anyone can experience hearing loss at any time, in a myriad of ways. This kind of thinking can backfire on a person, because they aren’t able to be present enough in the conversations taking place around them, causing their fears to become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
“When we don't hear, when we pull away from conversations, and when we miss information, other people think we’re old,” Steighner says. The month of May is dedicated to assuaging those fears, and educating those who may worry about this every day.
Hearing Loss Can Be Psychological
Have you ever felt like sometimes you might have a hearing problem, but that just doesn’t make sense because you can definitely hear your family members when they speak to you? Well, you’re not alone, and Better Hearing and Speech Month wants you to know it, too. According to Seighner, this situation is entirely commonplace.
“There's a whole science behind why people that have the hearing loss can hear in certain environments and can't in other environments, or hear certain voices in certain situations,” Steighner says.
The point of this month, says Steighner, is to make people aware of this phenomenon through education, both for the patients themselves and for family members.
Education is Key
The main goal of this special month, according to the Costal Hearing Center, is to educate people on hearing loss, whether they are the patient or the friend or family member of the patient.
Better Hearing and Speech Month is all about educating people about their hearing, their hearing loss, and how to understand and protect it. With more information on how to manage their environment and help family members better understand their hearing, patients will feel stronger and more secure in their hearing loss, and be equipped with the information to help their hearing in every way possible.
For over 30 years, audiologist Rick Steighner has been improving patients’ quality of life by restoring their hearing. His team at Coastal Hearing Center is committed to providing high quality, friendly service and the best range of hearing aids on the market.
For more information about hearing loss and Better Hearing and Speech Month, visit CoastalHearingCenter.com or call (843) 314-4240.