New Year, New You! This is the time of year when we make our resolutions and excitedly take another step into the future. Did you know the most common New Year Resolutions in the West and Midwest are related to health? Most people commit to exercising to get in shape, dieting to lose weight, eating healthier in general, and other forms of self-care. This means you’re likely to schedule that annual physical exam, make time to see your dentist, and get your eyes checked out while you’re at it!

Don’t let your hearing slide under the radar! Many of us contribute diminished hearing to age, so this makes us believe we do not need to keep track of it until we are older. However, audiologists strongly recommend having your hearing tested as an adult at least once between the ages of 21 and 50 to establish your baseline hearing. Having a baseline will help you in the future if you do experience hearing loss because your audiologist will be able to compare your baseline hearing with any change in hearing.

After your baseline, it is recommended you have your hearing checked periodically to track any changes. A drop in hearing is oftentimes very gradual and subtle, so we don’t notice it right away. By checking your hearing periodically, your audiologist can have a fairly good idea of how quickly your hearing is deteriorating.

This drop in hearing doesn’t occur just from age. It can be caused by excessive noise exposure (guns, fireworks, motorcycles, machinery, etc.), shingles, diabetes, stroke, heredity, obesity, and hypertension among many other things. All of us are at risk of diminished hearing, so it is important that we monitor it the same way we monitor the rest of our body!

Signs to be aware of include asking people to repeat themselves, having a hard time understanding conversations in loud environments, needing the radio or TV up loud, and having a hard time hearing anyone on the telephone. You may also find yourself having a difficult time with certain voices, such as female or children’s voices.

Even with these symptoms, there is no reason to be discouraged. Technology has come such a long way! Many individuals who have hearing devices have been thrilled by the improvement it has made in their lives. After all, a hearing device is far less conspicuous than a drop in your hearing. If you notice any of these signs, please schedule a test with an audiologist. After all, it’s a New Year, so make sure your New You is being taken care of in all aspects!