How’s your hearing? Find out during Better Hearing and Speech Month
How’s your hearing? If you’re like most people, you’ll answer that question with a one-word statement – “fine.”
But do you really know for sure?
“Because there is no pain associated with hearing loss – and it is such a gradual change over time – it’s often overlooked,” said Dr. Susan Bankoski Chunyk, audiologist at Hampden Hearing Center in East Longmeadow. “Sometimes people with hearing loss aren’t even aware of it.”
During May – which is Better Hearing and Speech Month – Chunyk and a host of local and nationally-based hearing specialists are highlighting the need to check up on your hearing.
And hearing health isn’t just a concern for those approaching middle age or beyond. According to information provided by the World Health Organization, an estimated 1.1 billion young people between the ages of 12 and 35 worldwide are at risk for hearing loss due to the recreational exposure to loud sounds.
Chunyk said the ubiquitous use of ear buds and studio-quality wireless headphones to listen to music and videos on cell phones and tablets makes potential ear damage a very real threat to this age cohort.
“The idea is, the louder the volume, the shorter the time it is safe to listen (without hearing damage),” she said, adding that convincing a teen to tum down the volume is not always easy.
Free hearing checks
Chunyk said Hampden Hearing would be celebrating Better Hearing and Speech Month by offering free hearing screenings to the public between May 21 and 25 at their offices at 200 North Main St., East Longmeadow. To schedule an appointment between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. during that week, Chunyk said individuals should call 525-7979.
This basic hearing test “presents sounds at different frequency levels,’ she said. “If the patient doesn’t respond correctly at all frequency levels in both ears, it’s a good indication they need a complete hearing screening.”
For those looking for a more casual, low stress way to check up on their hearing, Cochlear Hearing Implants offers a six-question hearing “test” on its “Million Ears Challenge” website at www.millionearchallenge.com. The goal of this screening is to get individuals to begin thinking about hearing health, and share that they took the challenge by posting a #MillionEAR Challenge badge to their social media profile.
“Those questions are screening questions,” Chunyk said. “Sometimes primary care physicians will ask questions like these.
”The whole idea is that if you answer “yes” to two or more [of them], it’s time to go have your hearing evaluated,” she said.