…and Facing Your First Hearing Test
For those of us with hearing loss, we know it’s often more than just a minor annoyance. However, it can be even bigger than the miscommunications, missed conversations, and the confusion and conflict they cause. “The risk for dementia skyrockets — a significantly higher risk for those with untreated hearing loss. And falling is three to five times more likely because of the damage to the inner ear,” Audiologist, Shekinah Mast shares. “The beginning of hearing loss is not so obvious at first. Typically, it takes seven years to seek treatment. But the longer hearing loss goes untreated, the more difficult it is for the brain to get used to hearing again. The sooner the treatment, the better the results,” she says.
Let’s dig in a bit and learn more, for our good and that of our friends, family and neighbors. With fifteen percent of the population affected by hearing loss, it’s most likely there are several people you know who could really use this information. So this is a series dedicated to clearing up some of the mud around the issues of HEARING LOSS.
By Dr. Shekinah Mast, Audiologist
What Happens If Hearing Loss Is Left Untreated?
Untreated hearing loss can lead to more hearing loss, memory and balance impairment and ultimately it is a significant contributing factor for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease according to the latest research. The brain cannot accurately process information that it isn’t getting accurately! And the more we withdraw from conversation, the more those parts of the brain begin to atrophy from the lack of stimulation.
Getting a baseline hearing examination can only make you more informed and aware of your current standing. It literally can’t hurt.
What Should You Do?
An annual hearing test is recommended for those over age 50.
The owner and lead provider at Mast Audiology Services in Seaford, Delaware, Dr. Mast is able to test your hearing to accurately diagnose the presence, severity and type of hearing loss you (may) have. For those patients that do have a hearing loss, recommendations are always personal and specific to your needs. At Mast Audiology, we work with most of the main manufacturers of hearing aids, but primarily work Signia and Starkey.
When you have a hearing test, whether with Dr. Mast or another audiologist, you will of course want to ensure that you can make the most of it. You should come out the other side with a full understanding of your hearing health and where to go from there. Your audiologist will always make sure of this, but to help you feel that you have made the most of the session, it can help to come armed with some questions that you might want to ask.
Any of the following questions could be useful to ask during your hearing test with your audiologist, and they will be more than happy to answer them.
What Tests Will You Do?
Before the actual testing takes place, you might be keen to know what is actually going to happen in those tests. Your audiologist should take you through this at the start of the session, but there is nothing shameful in asking them specifics before you dive into it, especially if you are nervous. You will soon see that there is nothing to be nervous about, and your audiologist will put you at ease.
Why Do I Have Hearing Loss?
If you are already quite sure you have some degree of hearing loss – or if this is uncovered in the session – you might be curious to know the causes. There are many potential causes, and it might be that your audiologist will be able to inform you straight away what your cause probably is.
It could be the result of an illness, an infection, damage from loud sounds or it could be a structural problem with the inner ear or eardrum. All these possibilities will be looked into by your audiologist to get to the bottom of the mystery.
Do I Need A Hearing Aid?
Of course, if it turns out that you have hearing loss, then you might need treatment – and the most common kind of treatment that you might need is a hearing aid. You should ask your audiologist upfront if you need a hearing aid, and they will be more than happy to discuss this with you. Remember that all they can do is make recommendations for you, and it’s up to you what you want to do.
What Types Of Hearing Aids Are There?
There are many types of hearing aids, and it’s important that you understand at least the types on offer for you. Again, this is something that your audiologist will be more than happy to discuss with you in detail, and you should soon feel fully aware of what you can expect out of a hearing aid as well as what type you are likely to be given. Knowing all this upfront can be really helpful for you, so it’s something to bear in mind and ask if you feel you need to.
Whatever you do, just make the most of the session. Your audiologist is there to help you, and they will be perfectly happy to answer any questions you might have.
Mast Audiology Services provides comprehensive diagnostic hearing testing, ear wax removal, and hearing aid consultations, fittings, maintenance and care. They offer a wide range of products and technologies, with multiple service package options and financing for hearing aid purchases.
Dr. Mast has become known for her heart to put her patients and their needs first, with a goal of being able to improve patients’ hearing and communication and, ultimately, their quality of life. For her, it’s rewarding to see the life-changing impact in a patient’s life.