May is "Better Speech and Hearing Month," audiologists say now is the time to get screened
Southeast Kentucky Audiology Audiologist Dr. Liz Rogers says a recent study shows that 700,000 Kentuckians suffer from significant hearing loss.
Alfred Killion is one of those Kentuckians and says his hearing loss started during his military career over 50 years ago.
"For me, it was really hard, I would be in the car and my wife would be talking. I would know she was saying something, but I didn't know what she was saying," Killion says.
The hearing loss progressively worsened for Killion, putting a barrier on his relationships.
"My grand-daughter spent two weeks with me and I was getting ready to take her back to the D.C. area. And, I fixed a place for her to sit up front in my truck," says Killion.
He continues to say, "So I said, uh, do you want to sit up front with me? And she said 'no, not really.' I said, 'you don't want to sit up here so you can talk to me?' She said, 'I talk to you all the time and you won't answer me.'"
That is what Killion says was his last straw, and made him go to get hearing aids.
Audiologists say hearing loss can be treated effectively with hearing aids.
"It is because the nerve fibers in the ear are not being stimulated the way they should be. Um, and it's kind of like with muscles if you don't use them then you lose them," says Southeast Kentucky Audiology Audiologist, Dr. Liz Rogers.
They say people may not even realize they have a hearing loss, because it can vary in range.
"It can start at what we call a minimal hearing loss, uh, all the way to a more profound hearing loss where patients would be considered deaf," says Audiologist, Dr. Liz Rogers.
Some people may be at more of a risk if they are diabetic, smoke, work in environments with a lot of noise, or over the age of 50. However, anybody can have hearing loss at any age, the damage may not just be as prevalent until years later.
Doctors say simple precautions like wearing ear protection during concerts or while working near loud noises, can prevent a lot of damage.
They say If you have ringing or buzzing in your ears to not ignore it, as it can be a sign of early damage and needs to be looked at by an audiologist.
"Don't let the little things go. Yeah, talk to your doctor about it. Hearing loss is a disease and just like any disease, the longer you wait to treat it. The harder it is to treat," says Dr. Rogers.
For more information on hearing loss, Dr. Rogers to visit