Safeguard your hearing during the holidays
As the festive season kicks into high gear, being mindful of not overdoing anything and protecting your health and well-being for the new year should be a top priority. One often overlooked area for concern is safeguarding and ensuring our hearing.
Noises and amplified sounds abound - whether via parties, stage shows, fire crackers, or otherwise - and the decibel level is heightened. You need to take heed and exercise due care. Jamaica Association for the Deaf (JAD) Hearing Services wants you to have a Merry Christmas and a happily audible new year and shares these thoughts with you.
Hearing loss is the inability to hear or receive sounds, whether partially or totally. Hearing loss can affect any age group and can be very impactful on a person's life.
Hearing Loss in Children
A child whose hearing loss is undetected is unlikely to develop normal speech and language or acquire the cognitive abilities that are conducive to learning. Early detection allows intervention via treatment and rehabilitation of the hearing impaired at a young age. Identification of a child's hearing loss after three years may at times be too late to prevent permanent impairment of speech, language and learning.
Symptoms of Hearing Loss
- Muffled/loud/high-pitched speech.
- Requiring repetition when being spoken to.
- Having difficulty recalling details in spoken conversation.
- Responding better to face-to-face conversations.
- Inability to follow simple verbal instructions.
- Lacking ability to converse/being easily distracted.
- Frequently complaining of ear infections.
- Withdrawal from social settings
Degree of Hearing Loss
- Mild hearing loss - People who suffer from mild hearing loss have some difficulties keeping up with conversations, especially in noisy surroundings. Here, 20-40 per cent of speech signal is lost.
- Moderate hearing loss - People who suffer from moderate hearing loss have difficulty keeping up with conversations when not using a hearing aid. Here, 50-75 per cent speech signal is lost.
- Severe hearing loss -People who suffer from severe hearing loss will benefit from powerful hearing aids, but often they rely heavily on lip-reading even when they are using hearing aids. Some also use sign language.
- Profound hearing loss - People who suffer from profound hearing loss are very hard of hearing and rely mostly on lip-reading and/or sign language.
HEARING LOSS PREVENTION
- Avoid exposure to loud environments. Do not have your television, radio or music on too loud, especially if there are children present, because their ears are more delicate than an adult's.
- Use headphones that block out more outside noise, rather than turning up the volume. Buy add-ons for existing headphones that block out more outside noise, or noise-cancelling headphones.
- Use ear-protection equipment such as earmuffs or earplugs if you work in a noisy environment, such as a pub, nightclub, a garage workshop or on a building site. It is important to insert ear plugs correctly to gain the benefit of wearing them.
- Use ear-protection equipment at loud concerts and at other events where there are high noise levels, such as motor races.
- Do not insert objects into your or your children's ears. This includes fingers, cotton buds, cotton wool and tissue.
- Avoid blaring sounds from speaker boxes. Do not have your ears too close to speaker boxes.
TREATMENT OF HEARING LOSS
In spite of the setback from hearing loss, there are several solutions to assist individuals to enjoy a better quality of life. Hearing aids are the most commonly used treatment for hearing loss. The options for treatment vary greatly, depending on the severity of hearing loss, type of hearing loss and an individual's lifestyle. Hearing aids can be purchased in a variety of colours, styles and sizes and are available for different budgets, based on what features an individual needs or wants.
If you think you may be experiencing hearing loss, you can visit JAD Hearing Services and their friendly staff.
JAD Hearing Services also does on-site visits to better reach its ever-growing number of patients.
You can visit the location at 9 Marescaux Road. Call 926-7709/
926-7001. Learn more at