We all love staying fit and healthy, but it is hard to do so when a vital part of our being is being completely ignored. Our hearing health is often the most neglected part of our health, since it is never a part of a routine medical check-up.
When we think of check-ups, we imagine getting our blood pressure checked, having our height and body weight measured, blood tests, and even having occasional pokes and prods from doctors to check for anomalies around the body. Even our vision is tested, especially for children. Unfortunately, our hearing is never screened during these check-ups.
People, including medical professionals, often underestimate the importance of auditory health. This is unfortunate, since our hearing affects not only the ears but our entire physiological and psychological health. Hearing loss puts people at risk for cardiovascular disease, dementia, diabetes, and even falling due to loss of balance. Hearing loss also increases the chances of Alzheimer’s, depression, and anxiety. With so many negative consequences, it may be a good idea to include hearing screenings as part of a routine medical check-up.
Study from 2017 found that hearing loss is a possible risk factor that can actually be prevented, in order to lower the risk of developing dementia. This study was published by the Lancet Commission, and found that 9.1% of participants with dementia result from hearing loss. Hearing loss was also the largest factor that could be prevented or modified.
Thanks to the above study, we now know that even though hearing loss puts one at risk of developing dementia, the chances of developing hearing loss can actually be lowered. We can do this by engaging in safe listening practices, engaging in auditory protection, and getting our hearing tested regularly to check for early signs of hearing loss.
The National Academy of Sciences reported that hearing loss screening ought to be included as part of routine check-ups in doctors’ clinics. We can do our part by being diligent about our hearing health and requesting for a hearing screening during our check-ups while explaining our reasons for our request.
We can spread the word of including hearing screenings during check-ups by encouraging our friends and loved ones to request for hearing screenings for themselves and their children as well. Our hearing is a precious, invaluable sense that is unfortunately irreplaceable. Once it is gone, we can never get it back, which is why it is up to us to take good care of our hearing health.
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