Early Hearing Loss Prevention and Detection
Hearing loss affects the young and old. Although hearing loss and hearing aids is often associated with older adults, it is also the most common birth defect in the United States. Early hearing loss prevention and detection is very important for all ages. Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) is the practice of screening all newborn babies for hearing loss before they leave the hospital. This doesn’t mean that it is not important for adults to also have their hearing checked. We recommend that beginning at age 50, adults have regular hearing assessments.
Guidelines for Early Hearing Detection and Intervention in Newborns
Universally standard newborn hearing screenings do lead to earlier detection and treatment. The Joint Committee on Infant Hearing (Joint Committee on Infant Hearing, 2000) and U.S. Public Health Service’s Healthy People 2010 health objectives (Healthy People 2010 website, 2002) recommend that all newborns be screened for hearing loss by 1 month of age, have diagnostic follow-up by 3 months, and receive appropriate intervention by 6 months of age (source). If children have hearing loss but it goes undetected, it can affect their development, speech, and performance in school. Early intervention can help ensure that children are mainstreamed in school and that they have access to speech and comprehension services. Hearing amplification devices are available for babies beginning at 4 weeks old.
Importance of Early Hearing Loss Detection in Adults
FACT: One in three people between 65 and 74 years of age have hearing loss. It is even more prevalent after age 75; close to half experience hearing loss. (Source)
If left untreated, hearing loss can cause problems for adults too. Hearing impairment can continue to worsen if left untreated. Difficulties for the hearing impaired (besides not being able to hear well) include: communication issues, isolation, exhaustion, frustration and depression. In addition, untreated hearing loss has been linked to dementia. As we mentioned above, hearing assessments are recommended from age 50. Once you are in the care of a hearing professional, we can make recommendations for your listening needs and also explain how to prevent hearing loss from getting worse. Here are some signs that might indicate you are having difficulty hearing:
- You find yourself asking people to repeat themselves.
- You turn the television or radio louder than everyone else in your house.
- You notice you can’t hear certain people or certain words.
- You have difficulty hearing multiple people in a conversation setting.
- Hearing is an issue in some environments, like restaurants, meetings, or parties.
Hearing, Balance & Speech is Here to Help You through All Aspects of Hearing Loss
If you have any questions about aural rehabilitation or hearing loss, please contact us at Hearing, Balance & Speech to schedule a hearing assessment with one of our experienced hearing care professionals today. We are here for you, to help with all aspects of your hearing health.