Recognizing Your Symptoms
Understand Your Symptoms & Health Concerns
Scheduling a visit with an audiologist in St. George, Cedar City, and Richfield, UT, doesn’t necessarily mean you need treatment today. In fact, patients are usually relieved to learn that early hearing healthcare evaluations are not about putting on traditional hearing aids. Rather, early evaluations are about understanding your overall hearing and brain health, which can be affected by damage to your auditory system, tinnitus, and/or a family history of diabetes, heart disease, dementia, and even exposure to loud noises in your younger years.
Your early evaluation is not simply for hearing but will help guide your ability to stay independent and engaged longer. This will reduce your risk of more serious problems like social isolation, lost independence, hospitalization, falling, memory loss and dementia, and premature death later in life. Most importantly, we love caring for our greatest generations and we’ll make sure your time with us is enjoyable.
When Should I See an Audiologist?
The American Academy of Audiology recommends completing a hearing evaluation at age 50 – think ‘Ears and Rears’. At Intermountain Audiology, we evaluate your hearing and cognitive function to detect issues such as difficulty hearing in noise, trouble with multiple people speaking at once, if you are experiencing tinnitus, and any declines in your cognitive function. We can tell if you will benefit from hearing protection or a brain training program, as many potential problems may not be apparent until prevention is too late. Beginning treatment at this optimal time not only ensures the greatest result but also means less time and expense down the road with better outcomes possible.
Remember, as with all major medical conditions, ‘Catch it Early; Treat it Early!’
Signs That You Need a Hearing & Cognitive Assessment
Treatment at this early stage may not even be necessary. However, it is especially important to schedule a consultation if you notice any of the following conditions:
- Difficulty hearing in noise
- Ringing, buzzing, chirping, or noise in your ears
- Trouble understanding when two more people are speaking at once
- Difficulty deciphering when people are speaking quickly
- Not remembering what was said during a conversation
- Difficulty hearing women or grandchildren
- Sudden loss of hearing
- Uneven hearing in your two ears
- Socially isolating behaviors
What Exactly Is Early Treatment?
Hearing loss, whatever the cause may be, can be effectively treated. The fact is, as we age, our chances of developing these conditions increase astronomically. Nearly 50% of people between the age of 60-70 years young experience hearing loss and/or tinnitus, and the numbers only increase from there! We have treated more patients in their 50’s in the past few years than we did in our first 15 years of practice!
Unfortunately, "age-related hearing loss" (in medical terms, Presbycusis) is thought to be embedded in our genetics – making it inevitable for most of us. Factor in some noise exposure from your younger years (concerts, work, landscaping, etc.), and you have a recipe for disaster.
Your first step is to simply arrange a consultation with our audiologist. The education, guidance, and treatment you receive today may help save you from years of frustration, embarrassment, and possibly more devastating medical conditions later. When it comes to your hearing and cognitive healthcare, early detection is the key to preventing future problems!
Some potential early interventions may include:
- Hearing protection
- Auditory brain training exercises
- Indirect treatment of tinnitus perception
- Early-stage treatment to slow the progression
Recent medical research by the European Dementia Commission shows that the early treatment of hearing loss is the #1 most modifiable risk factor for the prevention of dementia.
What Is the Benefit of Early Treatment?
While patients don’t need to rush into purchasing traditional hearing aid amplifiers, some hearing and brain health issues can be minimized or avoided with early detection and treatment, including:
- Social isolation
- Perception of tinnitus
- Progression of the hearing loss
- Degeneration of the auditory nerve & neural pathways
- Brain atrophy due to lack of stimulation of the auditory nerve
- Cognitive overload & strain on the brain
- Increased risk of dementia & cognitive decline by 200-500%
- Deterioration of quality of life