Hearing Well is Key to Living Well

Nov. 7, 2012

Hearing loss is currently the third most common chronic condition among older Americans, yet it is underdiagnosed, and treatment is often expensive.

The problem could become even more pronounced during the coming years. Millions of Baby Boomers are now reaching the age when hearing loss is more prevalent. Moreover, one in five teens already has some hearing loss, in part due to prolonged exposure to loud noises, including the frequent use of ear bud headphones to listen to music. More than 90 percent of people with hearing loss can benefit from hearing aids, yet fewer than 15 percent access devices that can improve their quality of life and health, often due to high cost.

Hearing loss can affect a person’s ability to stay connected to friends and family, contributing to social isolation, lower earnings, depression, dementia, and higher risk of falls, according to the National Institute of Health and the National Council on Aging. By contrast, hearing aid users report significant improvements in relationships, self‐esteem, overall quality of life, mental health and safety.

There are many strategies people can take to preserve their hearing, as well as ways to more easily and affordably access hearing aids, including:

•Talk to your doctor and schedule a hearing test – There are common signs of hearing loss, such as turning up the volume on the TV or radio, having trouble hearing people on the phone, or difficulty with following conversations in noisy environments.

•Limit exposure to loud noises – People should limit their exposure to loud sounds, such as music, lawn mowers, or motorcycles, to no more than 20 minutes at a time. When attending concerts or sporting events, consider wearing hearing protection. Studies have shown that consistent exposure to loud sounds above 100 decibels, as compared to a normal conversation of 60 decibels, can permanently affect hearing. However, more than 40percent of Americans incorrectly believe that it is safe to be exposed to loud sounds for 60 minutes or more, according to a recent survey from Opinion Research Corp. and hi HealthInnovations.

•Use effective communication strategies – It is important for people with hearing loss to use effective communication strategies and select settings that are “hearing friendly.” For example, people with hearing loss should opt for restaurants that are relatively quiet and go at times that are less busy. Another strategy is to select a table along a wall or in a corner, which will reduce background noise. During conversations, watch lip movements, facial expressions and body language, all of which give important information about the speaker’s message.

•Engage with family and friends – Hearing loss affects individuals, their families and their friends. It is important to discuss hearing loss together, providing support and encouragement for people experiencing hearing loss. When speaking with someone with hearing loss, make sure you face them and avoid covering your mouth while speaking. Also, it is important to avoid speaking too quickly.

•Research custom-programmed hearing aids – Hearing aid technology has advanced. Hearing aids are now more comfortable, provide better sound quality, and come in sleek and stylish models. Some insurance plans, including ones from UnitedHealthcare, now cover much of the cost of hearing aids, which makes obtaining treatment and support more affordable.

About 48 million Americans suffer from hearing loss. By following the above tips, people can maintain their hearing health and help those with hearing loss live fuller, healthier lives.

For more information about hearing loss, please go to www.hihealthinnovations.com or www.hearingloss.org.

Community Watch

» Demond Means resigns as commissioner of the Opportunity Schools and Partnership Program 6/29

» Initial Reaction Podcast: A look ahead to US Open 2017, look back at Champions Tour event in Madison Updated:  6/29

» SeaWorld grants interview with Mequon student on orcas for paper 6/29

» End of an era: Glendale administrator to retire after 36 years 6/29

» Whitefish Bay baseball team looking for consistency 6/29

» Sports Shorts: June 30, 2016 6/29

» Mangan leaves knowing Homestead is in a good place 6/29

» Whitefish Bay baseball team bounces back with win over Nicolet 6/28

» Brown Deer driver, 37, charged in crash near Strawberry Festival Updated:  6/28

» Marquette students offer marketing advice to Brown Deer 6/28

» 2016 Fourth of July events in the Milwaukee suburbs Updated:  6/28

» Thomas and big bats lead Germantown baseball team over Bay, 6-1 6/27

» USM student charged with taking upskirt photos of female classmates 6/27

» Retiring athletics director John Gustavson leaves Whitefish Bay in a better place 6/27

» Teen charged with taking upskirt photos of classmates in River Hills 6/25

» Oak Creek baseball team passes test with win over Homestead, 7-3 6/25

» Derosier enters not guilty plea 6/24

» Glendale's new park is realization of decades-long dream Updated:  6/23

» Talented, assertive Homestead soccer team won its own way 6/22

» Brown Deer, Homestead, Nicolet, Shorewood and Whitefish Bay Sports Shorts: June 23, 2016 6/22

» Brown Deer named an 'All-America City' 6/21

» Worker charged with stealing from senior living community residents Updated:  6/21

» "We endured': Homestead's state soccer title well-earned 6/21

» Frebeka 5 health challenge to be held in Mequon June 26 6/20

» Whitefish Bay entrepreneur wants to revolutionize school fundraisers 6/20

View All Posts Got a tip? Welcome rss

Best Summer Ever

 

We've made it easy for you to get out and go this summer. From hitting the trails for a bike ride or walk, to where to find beer gardens in the area, to the best places to swim in Waukesha County to the best summer drinks and summer reads, check out our 2016 summer guide.

Advertisement

Advertisement

CONNECT    

Advertisement