The Best of Ms. Best: on preserving and protecting your hearing
In recent weeks, our blog has emphasized the importance of being able to trust your physicians for quality eye care. Your eyesight is a crucial sense, but so is your hearing. At West Georgia Eye Care Center, we treat both. This week, tune in for a few words from West Georgia Eye Care Center’s hearing instrument specialist, Viola Best, BCHIS. She is licensed in the State of Georgia, board-certified by the National Board for Certification in Hearing Instrument Sciences and has 17 years of professional experience assisting patients with their hearing health.
For Viola, this career is a family affair–both her father and brother are licensed, certified hearing specialists. In fact, it was the influence of her father that challenged Viola to pursue the rigorous training process required for the profession. Viola is visibly enthusiastic about caring for her hearing patients: “I LOVE this job. It makes me feel so good to help people not only hear but understand.”
Viola clarifies: “Any hearing aid will amplify sound, will make things louder. But mere amplification will not necessarily help you understand conversation.” Speech discrimination is a significant piece of hearing, and the part you want to preserve as long as possible. How do you preserve your ability to discriminate speech and sound? Viola gives some preventive advice:
1.) Read aloud. This action engages more senses at once (sight and sound), and keeps you sharp. It’s fun, it’s free, and it’s a great practical exercise for auditory discrimination.
2.) Turn down your iPod (and the TV, and your car stereo). It’s no secret loud music damages your hearing over time. But how? Viola explains, “Inside your ear, you have between thirty and forty thousand tiny ‘hair nerves,’ sensory nerves that pick up sound signals and send them to the brain. Lots of factors may cause damage: age, heredity, certain medication, exposure to loud sounds.” You can’t control all of these factors, but you can control the volume of your media. Don’t let your iPod torch your hair nerves!
3.) Get screened every other year after you turn 50. Hearing loss is a gradual process, it happens slowly, almost without you noticing it. Don’t wait until it’s severe, get your hearing checked now. If you catch the localization and percentage of hearing loss early on, your likelihood for maintaining the most auditory understanding rises dramatically.
To those who are concerned about the overall look of a visible hearing aid, Viola assures: “A hearing loss is far more noticeable than any hearing aid.”
It matters who you see and hear.