H 57° L 54°
Cloudy | 0MPH

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 or

This site uses Facebook comments to make it easier for you to contribute. If you see a comment you would like to flag for spam or abuse, click the "x" in the upper right of it. By posting, you agree to our Terms of Use.

Suburban News Roundup

E-mail Newsletter

Your link to the biggest stories in the suburbs delivered Thursday mornings.

Enter your e-mail address above and click "Sign Up Now!" to begin receiving your e-mail newsletter
Get the Newsletter!

Login or Register to manage all your newsletter preferences.

Community Watch

» Public invited to Wauwatosa Village streetscape workshop 10/6

» Large crowd in Wauwatosa gymnasium discusses coyote attacks, seeks answers 10/6

» Bedbugs found in Wauwatosa juvenile court center Updated:  10/6

» Nordstrom Mayfair announces gala, late-night party fundraising events 10/6

» Aurora plans $35 million upgrade to psychiatric hospital in Tosa Updated:  10/2

» Updated week seven rankings of area prep football teams and players Updated:  10/2

» Mayfair mall, Susan G. Komen host series of breast cancer events 10/2

» Wauwatosa schools celebrate Walk to School Day on Oct. 7 10/2

» Initial Reaction Podcast: Is Aaron Rodgers really the best QB in football? 10/1

» Wauwatosa West football whips Pius XI in wild scoring affair 9/29

» Tosa West boys split two matches 9/29

» East kickers tie, lose, win during busy week 9/29

» Tosa East girls take third at Bay Invitational 9/29

» East's Potter finishes second at Nikolai Invite 9/29

» Wauwatosa Sports Shorts Oct. 1 9/29

» Tosa fourth in GMC golf standings 9/29

» 3 things you can do to protect your family, pets from coyote attacks Updated:  9/29

» City of Wauwatosa discussing 2016 executive budget 9/28

» Tosa fire dept. offers CPR class Oct. 17 9/28

» Wauwatosa public invited to chat with education author 9/28

» Nine local office positions in Tosa will be on spring election ballot 9/25

» Comiskey's hat trick leads Bay soccer team past Tosa East, 5-1 9/24

» Public meeting to discuss Wauwatosa coyote problem scheduled Oct. 6 Updated:  9/24

» Tosa Farmers Market to host biking event Sept. 26 9/23

» Echelon Apartments ready to open at Innovation Campus in Wauwatosa 9/23

View All Posts Got a tip? Welcome rss



Hidden Tosa


"Hidden Tosa" is a semi-regular feature where reporters Rory Linnane or Rachel Minske explore the closed down and closed off parts of Wauwatosa.


Local Business Directory