Don’t forget your ear checkup
Everyone knows that an annual visit to the dentist is something we all have to sit through. In later life, we realize we need to regularly have our eyes checked for new prescriptions, too. But what about our ears?
It’s safe to say that most people have never once visited an audiologist (outside of a few mandatory checkups in grade school), and that many of us take our hearing absolutely for granted. This is due to a serious lack of hearing awareness, which has persisted over many decades. Unlike dentists and optometrists, audiologists could do more to take matters into our own hands and actively promote hearing awareness.
The importance of an annual audiology checkup
In 2012, the Ida Institute held an awareness campaign competition for National Audiology Awareness Month, and one of the featured winners was “The Three Wise Monkeys”, a campaign which relied on the proverbial primates to remind everyone to get their ears, eyes, and teeth checked annually. It’s probably the best mnemonic we’ve seen in support of hearing checkups.
The biggest single reason a visit to the audiologist is overlooked in favor of a visit to the dentist or the optometrist is because hearing loss is very subtle. As we get older, we notice that our eyesight deteriorates, and tooth pain makes us acutely aware of our cavities. But when hearing deteriorates, it often goes unnoticed.
Individuals with hearing loss tend to downplay their hearing impairment for this very reason. They might not notice that they can’t hear the same sounds they could only a few years ago because, well, they can’t hear them. In other words, due to a lack of obvious indicators, hearing loss can lead to a vicious cycle of plausible self-denial.
This is why family members and friends of individuals with hearing loss should encourage those suffering from hearing loss to visit an audiologist. We can also promote better annual checkup habits by getting an annual hearing checkup even if we don’t think our hearing has deteriorated. At the end of the day, we need to start taking our hearing as seriously as we take our eyesight and dental hygiene.