It’s Time to Prioritize Hearing Health
It’s Time to Prioritize Hearing Health
By: Dr. Leslie Soiles, Chief Audiologist at HearingLife Staff

This year, many of us will prioritize visiting the dentist twice, getting an annual physical and having our vision checked. Sadly, chances are many will not schedule, or even consider, having our hearing assessed.

But why? Why do we consider other health checkups more important than our hearing? According to the World Health Organization, 1 in 4 people are expected to have hearing loss by 2050. That is a quarter of the population! This statistic alone should encourage us to prioritize our hearing health as part of our overall wellness routines.

Furthermore, as a result of the pandemic, there has been an increased focus on healthcare, yet people have not prioritized their hearing health. In fact, according to a global survey conducted by HearingLife and YouGov, 39% of people spend money on glasses to correct vision issues yearly, but only five percent spend money on hearing aids, even though 25% of people have been diagnosed or have recognized hearing difficulties.

Untreated hearing loss impacts one’s life in many ways - it can lead to social isolation, disconnection from family and loved ones and is linked to increased risk in dementia. Nearly one in two people feel that hearing loss has already or would lead to frustration, causes inability to listen, and negatively affects staying connected. Prior to getting a hearing test or diagnosis, nearly 1 in 3 people felt they often missed parts of conversations.

HearingLife recognizes that there is so much to gain by treating hearing loss. The first step is recognizing the signs as early as possible in order to provide timely care. Some include:  

  • Asking others to repeat themselves
  • Inability to hear voices clearly over the phone
  • Turning up the volume on the TV loud enough to disturb others
  • Experiencing a continuous ringing in your ear
  • Having trouble following a conversation in a noisy environment

Wearing hearing aids is stigmatized as something that is just for “old” people, so many avoid their hearing loss altogether, but what is “older” than not being able to hear and take part in conversations? According to the HearingLife/YouGov survey, people who do have hearing loss are more likely to advise their younger selves to protect their hearing at an earlier stage, even more so than wishing they applied sunscreen more often! While the percentage of people with hearing difficulties tend to increase by the age of 50, 1 in 5 already experiences it earlier in life.

Tom Kersting gets fitted for new hearing aids at HearingLife.

Hearing aids offer an opportunity to improve overall quality of life and gain back so much - renewed confidence, reconnecting with loved ones, experiencing the clarity of your own voice, and hearing the sounds you love again like kids laughing and birds singing.

So, do what you can to protect your hearing by minimizing exposure to noisy environments, keeping sound volumes to safe levels, and checking your hearing regularly. HearingLife makes it easy with an online hearing test that takes just 5 minutes and will give you immediate results and suggestions, putting you on the path to better hearing in less time than it takes listening to Free Bird! If you’re hearing has declined, it’s highly recommended you visit a trained audiologist to get proper treatment.

About Dr. Leslie Soiles

Dr. Leslie Soiles founded HearingLife's Shrewsbury's office (formerly New England Hearing Instruments) in 1996. As a Doctor of Audiology, she previously worked with Ear, Nose and Throat physicians for the first 20 years of her career.

Dr. Soiles earned her Doctor of Audiology degree from A.T. Still University of Health Sciences in 2006; her Master of Science degree in audiology from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst in 1985; and a Bachelor of Science degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Worcester State University in 1982.

In 2018, Dr. Soiles received the distinguished honor with the appointed role as Chief Audiologist for both HearingLife and the National Campaign for Better Hearing program in the U.S. As Chief Audiologist, Dr. Soiles trains and mentors hearing care providers, staff and people with hearing loss across the United States.

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