Hearing loss can affect quality of life and left untreated, may lead to isolation, frustration and even dementia. Conejo Hearing Center aims to improve lives providing appropriate solutions for hearing impairments, caring for each patient like a family member. The compassionate staff works with patients to diagnose and treat hearing issues, using the latest equipment and years of experience. Conejo Hearing Center owner and audiologist Christine Wilson provides answers to the most frequently asked questions about hearing loss.
Q: When should I get my hearing tested?
A: It is a very good idea to have a baseline of your hearing as part of your health records. This should be done as a young adult, especially by the age of 40 or 50. Then as any changes occur, they can be detected and monitored. Genetics and the degree of noise we have been exposed to in our lifetime are the most common contributing factors. In addition, there are other reasons that hearing may change besides advancing age. Many insurance plans cover a hearing evaluation and Medicare covers an annual test as part of their healthy program.
Q: How do I know I need help with my hearing?
A: The first signs of hearing decline can start as early as our 40s, but become more significant in our 60s and 70s. Usually the ability to hear in quiet and closed environments is fine, but the difficulty understanding in the presence of background noise and hearing people talk from a distance are the first signs that our hearing may be declining. Also, the television may be turned up louder and hearing on the telephone is more difficult.
Q: When is the best time to start using hearing devices?
A: The best time to start is when a person begins to feel frustrated in certain listening environments. The goal of using devices is to ease the communication process and reduce the mental strain that can come from having to work harder at understanding. Sometimes it’s friends or family members who notice the changes first. This is common, as decline in hearing is often a slow process for most people and can feel very normal to them. Untreated hearing loss can also contribute to isolation and depression in the individual. Since social isolation is a known risk factor for dementia and other cognitive disorders, emerging studies show a link between untreated hearing loss and dementia. It’s good brain health to stimulate our hearing nerve pathways as they can and should be.
Q: Where should I go to be evaluated for my hearing? There are so many advertisements today!!
A: A physician recommendation is a good place to start, or look for an audiologist’s office, which is a licensed hearing professional. Audiologists are trained in the science of hearing as well as the evaluation and appropriate fitting of hearing devices. Our office gives a free trial of hearing devices, with no obligation to purchase. This is the best way for someone to make an educated decision about whether hearing devices can provide the benefit you are looking for. Today’s digital technology results in very successful and significant improvement in one’s communication ability. An experienced audiologist can help you select the right solutions for you and your listening needs. Bluetooth connectivity also allows for easier phone conversations and listening to the television.