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Professionals Work to Address Hearing Loss Prevention

Celebrating 35 years of Caring for Your Hearing

Meredy Hase tests a child, 1987  Kupperman and Hase work to license audiologists in Wisconsin, 1989

 

Hearing Loss UNDER Age 65

We used to think of hearing loss as something that only happened to our grandparents' generation. But you'd be surprised at how many people your age, and even younger, have a hearing problem.
According to a study recently published by the Better Hearing Institute, two-thirds of Americans with hearing loss are under the age of 65 and still in the work force. That includes one of every six "Baby Boomers" (ages 41 to 59) and one of every 14 "Generation X'ers" (age 29-40).

According to Meredy Hase, Doctor of Audiology, "Hearing loss is by no means an 'old person's disease' any longer. Each day, we see people of all ages come into our offices concerned they may have a hearing problem.

"There's even solid evidence to support the fact that for working Americans, hearing loss impacts their ability to make a living, up to $12,000 in lost income per year." (See related article)
Dr. Hase urges anyone who thinks they, or a loved one, may have a hearing loss to contact The Doctors of Audiology at Hearing Services without delay.

Auditory Deprivation

Auditory Deprivation refers to the fact that even though we "hear" with our ears, it's our brain that's the true organ of hearing.

When hearing loss is left untreated, the brain's ability to distinguish various sounds becomes less and less. Try to think of Auditory Deprivation as similar, in a sense, to muscles that atrophy when not used over a long period of time.

The reason Auditory Deprivation is important is that we have ample evidence proving how long people will wait before seeking help for a suspected hearing loss. Up to ten years, by some estimates.

In other words, the longer you wait to get help for your hearing loss, the less even the most advanced hearing instruments will be able to help you hear better. That's one more reason physicians recommend annual hearing checks as part of an overall health assessment.
The Doctors of Audiology at Hearing Services can perform hearing screenings that take only a few minutes. Concerned individuals are urged to contact them at the first signs of hearing loss, such as an inability to understand conversations in a crowded room or having to turn up the TV volume in order to hear.

Hearing & Income Loss

After years of research, there is new evidence that links hearing loss and loss of income. A study released by the Better Hearing Institute in Alexandria, VA, proves that untreated hearing loss may impact household income by as much as $12,000 per year.

The study also shows that hearing loss, which affects more than 28 million Americans, two thirds of whom are still in the work force, results in an annual loss of more than $100 billion in wages and worker productivity. The good news is people who find help for their hearing loss can regain up to 50% of that lost income.

According to Meredy Hase, Doctor of Audiology, "One of the misconceptions about hearing loss is that it's 'an old person's ailment'. But we know that hearing loss crosses all income lines and impacts people of all ages".

The new "Open Ear" Digital hearing instruments are especially designed to help Baby Boomers feel more comfortable about wearing hearing instruments.

Anyone interested in receiving a FREE Demonstration of Open Fit hearing technology are urged to contact the Doctors of Audiology at Hearing Services.

Hearing Loss & the Family

For years, both researchers and hearing healthcare professionals have known much about the causes of hearing loss and how it affects the person who suffers from it.

But not until recently has attention been paid as to the devastating effects hearing loss has on family members and friends as well. This past year alone, several organizations have weighed in with their findings on this often overlooked medical problem that by current estimates, affects the lives and families of more than 30 million Americans.

For example, the National Council on Aging (NCOA), a government agency whose task it is to research the lives of older Americans, released a study that confirms how often a person with hearing loss begins to feel isolated, eventually withdrawing from normal everyday activities and even from family and friends.

None of this is news, however, to Dr. Meredy Hase,  who says, "I realized just how much hearing loss also affected family members when we''d spend so much time counseling them when we''d fit their loved one with hearing instruments".

The benefits of better hearing were the subject of an NBC report that aired on an installment of the NBC Nightly News. In that report, the testimonials of several patients and their families provided evidence of how lives can be changed for the good, once the decision has been made to seek help for a hearing problem.

Those interviewed talked about how experiences such as watching TV or enjoying conversations with loved ones - things that were not possible with hearing loss - were once again part of the everyday enjoyment of life. Social activities like dining at restaurants of going to the movies were also among the range of family life experienced through better hearing.

Thanks to recent advances in technology more help is available than ever before for those whose lives are affected by hearing loss. If left untreated, hearing loss will almost always become worse over time, another reason Dr. Hase urges people to contact the Doctors of Audiology at Hearing Services if a hearing loss is thought to exist.

More Hearing Healthcare News
 

A workshop involving key stakeholders and health professionals from 14 countries of the WHO European Region contributed to strengthening capacity for implementing World Health Assembly resolution WHA70.13 on the prevention of deafness and hearing loss, adopted in 2017.

WHO organized the event together with the WHO Collaborating Centre for Ear and Hearing Care at the National Research Centre for Audiology and Hearing Rehabilitation in Moscow, Russian Federation. It took place in Moscow on 16 and 17 October 2018.

Participants shared updates on the current prevalence of hearing loss, discussed the status of ear and hearing care services and corresponding human resources, and explored key issues related to hearing loss and deafness. They left the event with priorities for action as well as a series of concrete next steps for the promotion of resolution WHA70.13 and its recommendations.

Participants were also presented with the first draft of the WHO world report on hearing. The report, prepared at the request of the World Health Assembly, is based on scientific evidence. The final version is to be launched in March 2020.

In September 2018, WHO established the World Hearing Forum, a global network of stakeholders promoting ear and hearing care worldwide. Members of this advocacy network are committed to facilitating the implementation of resolution WHA70.13. The Forum was presented during the workshop, and participants had the opportunity to share ideas on a global advocacy initiative that it plans to launch.

Hearing care and hearing loss: a public health issue

Globally, 466 million people live with disabling hearing loss, including 34 million children. Countries of central and eastern Europe and central Asia contribute nearly 7.5% of the overall prevalence. Among adults over the age of 65, nearly 1 in 3 experience disabling hearing loss.

It is expected that the prevalence of hearing loss will rise considerably in coming decades due to changing population demographics, increasing exposure to risk factors such as noise, and the persistence of untreated ear conditions such as otitis media.

Many of the causes of hearing loss are preventable. Yet unaddressed hearing loss is one of the leading causes of morbidity and poses an annual cost of US$ 750 billion globally.

In children, 60% of hearing loss can be prevented through public health strategies. Those who have hearing loss can greatly benefit from timely and appropriate interventions. Implementation of proven strategies to prevent hearing loss and to rehabilitate those with irreversible impairments requires a number of public health measures, including the integration of high-quality, comprehensive ear and hearing care services into national health systems.

Hearing loss can often be managed medically, surgically or through other means – for example, hearing aids, assistive devices and cochlear implants. Currently, hearing aid production meets less than 10% of global need. In developing countries, fewer than 1 in 40 people who need a hearing aid have one.

The 2017 World Health Assembly highlighted hearing care and hearing loss as a public health issue. Resolution WHA70.13 calls upon WHO and Member States to develop public health strategies to make ear and hearing care accessible for all.

Addressing hearing loss through accessible ear and hearing care is essential to achieving Sustainable Development Goal 3, which calls on all stakeholders to “Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.”

Improving ear and hearing care will also contribute significantly to WHO’s 13th General Programme of Work, with its goal of achieving universal health coverage to ensure that 1 billion people enjoy better health and well-being.