About Hearing Loss -- Growing Fastest Among Baby Boomers, Yet Largely Ignored
Hearing is essential to full enjoyment and participation in life. Unfortunately, today 1 in 10 Americans — over 30 million people — experience some degree of hearing loss. Hearing loss is the third leading chronic health condition among Americans, after arthritis and high blood pressure.
Consequences of Untreated Hearing Loss
You might be a little surprised to know that the typical person with hearing loss waits over five years to see a health care professional for an evaluation. Although hearing loss is not a life threatening condition, it is a condition that does lower the overall quality of life for those suffering from it. The good news is that well-designed clinical studies have shown that when hearing aids are properly fitted they significantly improve the overall quality of life for their users.
The downside to choosing to wait until your hearing loss gets worse, or not wearing them at all, has also been well documented. There are several reasons for taking the advice of your Miracle Ear professional, and beginning the process of hearing aid use now. Below is a list of the reasons for taking action today. Evidence clearly shows that there are serious negative consequences if you wait to use hearing aids.
1. The Effects of Auditory Deprivation
Auditory deprivation is the term used to describe a decrease in speech understanding resulting from a hearing loss. In simple terms, hearing loss starves the auditory centers in the brain of acoustic information. The good news is that hearing aids, which allow the auditory centers of your brain to “stay busy,” have been proven to help this potential problem. Using hearing aids now will stave of the effects of auditory deprivation.
2. The Binaural Advantage
It’s easy to think that wearing only one hearing aid will be enough to combat the negative effects of hearing loss. Unfortunately, the vast majority of studies over the past 25 years have shown that two hearing aids provide more benefit and satisfaction to their users than wearing only one. Since every patient is unique, it is up to you and your Miracle Ear professional to sort out the individual advantages of binaural hearing with two hearing aids.
3. Social and Emotional Impact of Untreated Hearing Loss
There is also considerable evidence, much of it archived at The Better Hearing Institute (BHI) website, suggesting that patients with untreated hearing loss suffer more from depression and social isolation compared to those of similar age who wear hearing aids. Patients with hearing loss are more likely to be depressed and suffer from the many quality of life effects of it, than patients of similar hearing loss that have chosen to wear hearing instruments. To learn more go to www.betterhearing.org
4. Economic Impact of Untreated Hearing Loss
There is also evidence suggesting that hearing impaired patients choosing not to wear hearing aids earn less when compared to hearing impaired patients who chose to use hearing aids. There is a growing body of evidence showing that there are substantial economic consequences to a person’s decision to delay hearing aid use. This is a particularly important finding for those in the workforce.
The Advantages of Modern Hearing Aids: Open Canal Technology
As you may know there is still a strong stigma associated with wearing hearing aids. Over the past decade technology has become smaller and better. Today, many hearing aids are virtually invisible and still deliver outstanding performance in challenging listening environments.
Open Canal (OC) technology allows the modern components of the hearing aid to be hidden both over the ear and deep inside the ear canal. In addition to being virtually invisible, OC devices have several acoustic advantages, including the elimination of the plugged feeling many patients experience with hearing aids as well as squealing or feedback. In order to learn about your OC options and if this technology is right for you contact your local Miracle Ear professional.
The Most Vulnerable Generation
Car horns. Jet planes. iPods. Headphones. Rock concerts. Aerobics classes. Lawn mowers. Office equipment.
These are all hallmarks of the Baby Boom Generation, the group aged 45-65 that currently makes up the largest segment of American society. They have witnessed, and contributed to, a greater increase in noise pollution than any other generation. And they'll live longer than any who preceded them. These two factors combined make them the generation most vulnerable to hearing loss.
Prolonged or loud noise appears to have overtaken age as a cause of hearing loss in the U.S., at least for the Baby Boomer generation. About 40% of the hearing impaired are younger than 65* — and Baby Boomers themselves are the fastest-growing group to suffer hearing loss today.**
Unfortunately, the problem of hearing loss is "growing younger." 15% of recent college graduates have as much or more hearing loss than their parents.* And over two million Americans with hearing loss are the age of 18.
What are the major causes of hearing loss? Find out more
Ending the Legacy of Indecision
Previous generations tended to get hearing aids much later in life than they should.
Less than half of those with hearing loss who could benefit from hearing aids use them.
Some statistics report that only one in seven seek help.
People who did take action waited an average of eight years from the first time the loss was noticed, until they finally got treatment.
Why? One reason may be that hearing loss is so gradual over time, that most people don't notice a change until it has become really pronounced. Other reasons may include embarrassment. Even though eyeglasses and contact lenses have now become perfectly socially acceptable, we still have to work hard to ensure that hearing aid wearers are treated with the same respect as eyeglass wearers.
You could have hearing loss and not even know it. It's the people closest to you who may recognize it first. So make sure to listen to their advice about getting your hearing tested on a regular basis.
* Source: Hearing Alliance of America, Inc.
** Source: National Academy on an Aging Society