When is it Time to See Your Audiologist?

Audiologists are health care professionals that evaluate hearing and how the ear functions. Most audiologists have trained for 8 years and achieved a Doctorate degree making them specialists in evaluating hearing disorders. When is the right time to see an audiologist?

Hearing is a vital sense that connects us to our outside world. We use our ears and hearing for communication with each other, for safety in locating sounds around us, and the balance portion helps us orient ourselves in space. Recent research studies have found that the brain actually changes and ages faster when we are not hearing as well due to a lack of consistent stimulation to the brain. Since hearing is such an important part of our lives and well-being, it is important to seek medical advice if there are any changes to our hearing and balance systems.

Hearing Issues to See Your Audiologist About

Some clues that your hearing might not be as acute as it used to be:

  • – You find yourself asking “what” or “huh” more often
  • – Your ears are ringing or buzzing
  • – Background noise has become increasingly difficult, and you may even start avoiding them
  • – You feel as though you can still hear people’s voices, but just not understand the words they are saying as well
  • – Your ears have a sensation of fullness, or you feel as though you have pressure in your ears
  • – You have drainage coming from your ears
  • – You are more sensitive to loud sounds than you were before

Balance Issues to See Your Audiologist About

The ear is also responsible for helping us keep our balance and if this part of the ear experiences any disturbances, it can cause dizziness or balance related issues.

Some clues that your balance system might not be as acute as it used to be:

  • – You experience vertigo, or dizziness
  • – You feel as though you drift to one side when walking
  • – Dizziness occurs with positional changes like turning your head or looking up to the sky or rolling over in bed
  • – You experience a drunk-like feeling when not drunk

These are just a limited group of symptoms that can be related to changes in your ears, hearing, and balance system. Symptoms are even more alarming if they are isolated to one ear or one side. The above list would not be considered emergent items. If you experience a sudden change in hearing, you should seek medical help immediately as there is a critical window of 48 hours to seek treatment in these cases.

If you are experiencing any of the hearing or balance issues above, an audiologist is a great place to start to get more information. Audiologists are trained to make appropriate referrals if warranted. Most audiological testing is fast, covered by insurance, and easy to perform in a routine clinical environment. Call 651-888-7888 to arrange evaluation with one of our Doctors of Audiology today!

Photo by Dawid Sobolewski on Unsplash

Why Hearing is Important

Your hearing is important because it is what connects you with the world around you. It is one of our five precious senses. It is not something that is typically asked about by your family practice doctors but it is the sense that stimulates the brain the most. How important is hearing, really?

Birth-to-school age

We begin hearing in the womb and can recognize our mother’s voice before we are even born! Early on in life, our hearing allows us to start learning language. Unless sign language is used, our hearing is an integral part in language development. Babies and toddlers will imitate the sounds of the world around them before they develop language. Strong language development lays the groundwork for our educational years.

School-age

While in our school-aged years, our hearing becomes important for both social and educational reasons. People who are unable to hear their teachers may start to fall behind their peers. This may also impact and shape social connections. Our life experiences build through our educational years. Hearing loss can be isolating and have an impact on how social connections are built.

Adult

Once people are entering the workforce, hearing can have a major impact on employment opportunities and earning potential. A study published in the Annals of Otology, Rhinology & Laryngology (2012) found that people with hearing loss are more likely to be either unemployed, or earn significantly lower incomes than their normal hearing peers.

Retirement

The more common impacts of hearing loss tend to show in our elderly and aging population. Hearing loss becomes increasingly common as age increases. Our bodies wear out with age, and hearing is no different. Keeping the brain stimulated and active is a key activity to prevent this wear and tear from impacting our brains. If hearing loss prevents people from engaging in their social lives, the brain can start to shrink from lack of use. This can also lead to isolation, depression, and overall lower quality-of-life. If hearing loss goes untreated long enough, it can even cause neurological changes.

Hearing is important at every stage of life. We can take steps to prevent noise-induced hearing loss by wearing hearing protection in hazardous levels of noise. Some hearing loss in unpreventable. This is why it is important to get routine hearing evaluations so that you can catch changes before they may problematic and bothersome. Call our office today at (651) 888-7888 to schedule your hearing evaluation!