by Tamarra Friedrichsen, Doctor of Audiology
Killean Audiology & Hearing Aid Centers
Hearing loss is an invisible condition; we cannot see hearing loss, only its effects.
Every May is designated as “Better Speech and Hearing Month.” by the American Speech-Language Hearing Association. During the month of May, hearing professionals and speech pathologists raise awareness of communication problems such as speaking and hearing issues and educate the public in both knowledge and understanding of communication problems. These problems can affect anyone at any age, whether starting at birth or a problem that develops sometime during a lifetime.
The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) reports that 36 million adults in the United States report some degree of hearing loss. As people age the percentage reporting hearing loss grows; approximately 18% of adults between 45 and 64 years of age report hearing loss, 30% between 65 and 74 years of age, and for adults 75 years of age and older the percentage increase to 47%.
Even more interesting than the prevalence of hearing loss is that NIDCD reports that only 1 in 5 people that have hearing loss and need hearing aids actually wear them. The Better Hearing Institute (www.betterhearing.org) has reported on many studies that have linked untreated hearing loss to irritability, negativism, anger, fatigue, tension, stress, depression, social isolation, loneliness, reduced alertness, increased risk to personal safety, impaired memory, other cognitive issues such as Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia, reduced job performance and earning power, and decrease in overall health.
There are many explanations as to why people with hearing loss choose not to wear hearing aids that include costs (both initial purchase costs and repair costs), poor sound quality, poor fit, vanity, or they feel that they hear better without them. A hearing professional can address many of these issues and solve many of these concerns by scheduling an appointment with any of the professionals here at Killean Audiology and Hearing Aid Centers.
Hearing loss is an invisible condition; we cannot see hearing loss, only its effects. Because the presence of a hearing loss is not visible, these effects may be attributed to aloofness, confusion, or personality changes. People who have hearing loss are often unaware of the effects of it on other people. If you suspect a loved one may have hearing problems, it may be helpful to indicate, in a non-threatening way, how the hearing loss affects friends or family members and to seek the help of a hearing professional.