Calling all snowbirds: Have your hearing checked

Planning on heading south to avoid those harsh winter months? Looking forward to relaxing in warm weather and socializing with friends? Well you might want to think about getting your hearing checked before you leave to ensure you get the most out of your trip!

Do you need your hearing checked?

Hearing loss is the third most chronic health problem in Canada and the fastest growing health issue among elderly Canadians. It affects more than 10 per cent of the total population, including 25 per cent of people who are over the age of 45 and 50 per cent over the age of 65.

Untreated hearing loss means you may have difficulty communicating well, which can undermine personal relationships and affect the ability to function properly in social situations. This is why snowbirds who are often travelling for months on end should have their hearing checked before heading south for the winter.

According to ListenUP! Canada’s Chief Audiologist, Kate Dekok, “Untreated hearing loss can not only result in frustration, isolation and depression. It can also create some very stressful situations. For example, can you hear and understand what your doctor is advising you? Can you understand what your grandchildren are saying? In a meeting, theatre or religious gathering — can you hear the speaker clearly? And what about trying to have a conversation in a noisy restaurant? Almost impossible! These types of situations cause folks with untreated hearing loss to withdraw from social activities and interaction with others.”

The good news is that most hearing loss is treatable. The National Council on Aging determined that when someone is fitted with hearing aids, not only do they reduce stress and anxiety, but they also improve self-esteem and overall quality of life.

“It’s recommended that you have your hearing checked before heading south for months on end,” says Dekok.

If you have hearing aids…

Before heading to warmer climes, it’s also a good idea for hearing aid users to have their hearing aids cleaned and adjusted to ensure they are still providing the best sound quality and volume possible. Similar to untreated hearing loss, hearing aids that aren’t functioning properly can also lead to a diminished quality of life.

“While users of hearing aids report an improved quality of life in personal, family and work relationships, and overall health,” notes Dekok, “lack of hearing clearly due to a faulty or damaged hearing aid can result in the negative effects of untreated hearing loss, which include stress, anxiety and embarrassment.”

There have also been significant advances in hearing aid technology that makes life easier for the hearing aid user. Recent developments include products that can locate where sound is coming from, allow the user to listen to the TV and radio at the same volume as everyone else and assist in certain listening situations. This may be the right time to look into upgrading your hearing aids.

Don’t delay having your hearing aids checked. It could mean the difference between frustrating travel and a worry-free winter break.

Photo © Martin Prescott

Article courtesy of ListenUP! Canada, Ontario’s leading provider of hearing aids, with over 80 locations and 100 experienced hearing healthcare experts across the province.