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Published on May 29, 2013

Promoting Healthy Hearing

By Kendra Neugebauer, AuD

Avera Medical Group Ear, Nose and Throat- Yankton Celebrates Better Hearing and Speech Month

How often do you hear someone joke, “Oh, I don’t have a hearing problem. It’s just selective hearing?”  What these people may not know is they may be experiencing symptoms of hearing loss.  Signs and symptoms of hearing loss can go unsuspected for years before it is officially identified.  Even when symptoms are acknowledged, it takes the average individual between 7-10 years before they actually have their hearing examined by a professional.  Recent research suggests at least 1 in every 5 Americans possess some degree of hearing loss.  This translates to over 34 million individuals experiencing some level of communication breakdown.

Hearing loss is not just an ailment of old age either! The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recently estimated that around 5.2 million children ages 6-19 years exhibit hearing loss directly related to noise exposure.  Fortunately, noise-induced hearing loss is 100% preventable. Loud music, band instruments, noisy toys, firearms, farm equipment, and even fireworks can cause damage to our ears. Three simple precautions can be taken to protect yourself and others from harmful noise levels.

  1. Turn down the volume.
  2. Walk away from the loud noise or limit your time to dangerously loud environments.
  3. Protect your ears by using earmuffs or disposable earplugs.

At Avera Medical Group ENT- Yankton, we encourage everyone to learn how to recognize dangerous noise levels that could impact hearing.  In addition, we also recommend our patients have their hearing evaluated annually.  Whether it is a visit to your local audiologist or a local community health fair, being proactive about hearing health and having your hearing screened could help detect hearing loss and preserve quality of life and communication for years to come. For children and teenagers, early identification of hearing loss could promote improved social interactions and academic performance.

No matter what your age, communication is the cornerstone to fulfilling our everyday life, as we are constantly connecting with friends and family.  A breakdown in communication, specifically hearing loss, can interfere with relationships, causing depression, anxiety, withdrawal, and lower self-esteem. Don’t let your hearing impact your relationships.  There’s no better time than now to take control of your hearing health.

Avera Medical Group Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) - Yankton, Yankton Sertoma and the University of  South Dakota Doctor of Audiology Department celebrate May as Better Speech and Hearing Month by promoting hearing health in our community at an annual hearing screening. If you currently have concerns for your hearing, the Yankton Sertoma Club will be hosting a free hearing screening event for the community at the Avera Pavilion from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM on Wednesday, May 29th, 2013.