Personal Hearing Health
Safeguard Hearing Health
Hearing health is often misunderstood or ignored, to the detriment of the individual. During the last decade, we have learned from reliable sources that such unawareness not only leads to isolation and depression, but also contributes to cognitive decline.
The guidance provided by Summus Hearing is unbiased, audiologically sound, and simple to use. Adding it to a suite of health-related services is beneficial to the business or professional provider as well as individual users. Safeguarding one’s hearing should and can be as straightforward as maintaining one’s sight.
Customized Hearing Health Guidance
While many hearing tests exist, most are imperfect and are primarily aimed at selling hearing aids. The data sets (over 100,000) that Summus has accumulated indicate that when hearing test results are effectively triaged, as only 35% indicate a permanent hearing loss (referred to as Sensorineural), significant enough to consider a hearing instrument. The majority of the others are Normal (annual testing is important), with lower percentages testing Conductive (suggesting some blockage or other middle ear condition) or Mixed (indicating a more complex situation that warrants further testing). In all cases, providing such baseline information to one’s doctor is recommended.
Triage, follow-up testing, and effective messaging is key to an individual taking action and a real strength of the Summus Hearing’s Guidance process. While hearing issues often begin to appear during one’s 20’s, lifestyle and employment factors alone cause 40-year-olds to respond differently to messaging than do 60-year-olds and certainly than do 72-year-olds.
Hearing Health for All Ages
Hearing issues can arise at any age, calling for vigilance throughout life. Usually, however, permanent losses begin gradually and accelerate as ageing occurs. In most circumstances, testing leading to detection should begin by the late 20’s and become routine by the mid 40’s.
Ages 15 and Under
The majority of infants get tested, and after that, testing usually stops unless a specific issue is identified and brought up with the family physician. However, due to the widespread use of headphones for gaming and listening to music, a wave of unrecognized issues is emerging. Even when a straightforward examination yields Normal results, permanent hearing loss can be developing. Regular testing is advised, therefore, at least during the early teenage years.
Younger public school age children represent a special case. Otitis Media (fluid in the ear) is commonplace and often untreated. When reoccurring, it can lead to language and learning problems in later grades, compromising both the child and his or her future. For this reason alone, testing should be undertaken during the junior grades.
Employment, leisure, and lifestyle issues begin to take hold in this demographic. And it is here that an indication of hearing concerns, including permanent hearing loss, can gradually appear. Testing should be started at least by the late 20’s and continued on a regular basis. Hearing protection should also be used whenever the risk of exposure is present.
Early to later middle age is when much evidence of hearing loss occurs, particularly among those who have ignored hearing protection when noise exposed and/or are afflicted by one or more health problems. Diabetes and heart conditions are notable, along with using a number of ototoxic drugs, many available over-the-counter. Testing at this stage should become a matter of routine.
Later age is when hearing problems are usually noticed and when action is critical to monitor status to prevent further decline or rehabilitate the situation when possible. Ignoring this need often leads to social isolation, safety concerns, and a bevy of health problems. Evidence suggests that hearing loss is a strong contributor to cognitive decline. Testing, therefore, is fundamental, usually on at least an annual basis.