Hearing plays a central role in our lives. It is fundamental to many different aspects of childhood development including; language, speech, social skills, personality, and intellect, as well as playing an important role in emotional wellbeing. In adults, it is crucial to our ability to work effectively, communicate and maintain relationships and, poor hearing can result in social isolation, depression, anxiety and frustration.
Taste, smell and vision all involve chemical reactions but hearing involves physical movement and mechanical systems. This means that hearing can negatively impacted by more external factors than other senses but there is a great opportunity to protect and/or enhance our hearing.
The ear is an extraordinary and delicate organ. For those that do not have any hearing issues, it is important that they evaluate whether their environment or activities are placing themselves in harm’s way. People such as those that work in environments with elevated sound levels, hunters, and musicians need to insure that they have adequate protection. At Wagner ENT we offer many solutions including the Siemen’s SecureEar that has a four channel digital processor and is worn in the ear canal and dampens things such as gun noise yet amplifies subtle sounds such as rustling leaves.
Parents should track the hearing development of their young children and be aggressive if they suspect any issues in their progression. While not a comprehension or definitive criteria the following may be helpful for parents:
- Babies from 0 to 3 months should be reacting to loud noises, find comfort from their parents voices and make “gooing” noises.
- Babies from 3 to 6 months should react to your voice by turning toward you, smile while talked to, and stop at the sound of familiar voices.
- Babies from 6 to 12 months should respond to their name, make baby sounds, understand some words, and react to changes in your voice.
- Babies from 12 to 18 months should understand what “no” means, point to body parts when asked, and say a few words like “mama.”
- Babies from 18 to 24 months should understand about 50 words, answer yes and no questions, follow simple directions and create simple sentences.
- Between 2 and 3 children should have a vocabulary of about 270 words, sing short songs, repeat familiar stories and know people’s names.
If you have a child who is off of this progression, please contact Wagner ENT immediately. We have a certified audiologist on staff and a certified audio booth in our offices and can perform a thorough hearing evaluation.
For many adults hearing loss is often slow and progressive so oftentimes they are unaware of the change. And, sometimes they suppress the awareness because they are afraid of the stigma of a hearing aid. As a result it is frequently a spouse or close friend, who brings the issue to the forefront. Once the issue is raised, it is crucial to understand the severity and nature of the problem. An evaluation in our certified audio booth will also help us determine the right course of action. It is important to note that today’s technology has produced some amazing hearing products that are in many cases virtually invisible. If you suspect that you may suffer from some hearing loss, please contact us to arrange for a comprehensive evaluation and consultation.
Finally, if you ever experience a rapid change in your hearing quality it is crucial that you consult a professional immediately. In some cases, this can be a symptom of a severe health and/or your long term hearing health might be at stake.