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.

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

» Wauwatosa firefighters captured on video battling car flames 11/30

» German retailer VOM FASS opens at Mayfair Mall 11/30

» Updated rankings of area prep boys and girls basketball teams and players 11/30

» Wauwatosa man involved in fatal Dane County crash 11/30

» Stone Creek Coffee looks to open Harwood Avenue location in Tosa 11/30

» 10-year-old girl dies after freeway crash in Dane County 11/25

» Wauwatosa unveils convenient, affordable water online water bill payment options 11/25

» Wauwatosa East girls basketball team uses big second half to beat Wisconsin Lutheran 11/25

» Plenty of positives in Wauwatosa West girls' basketball loss to Kettle Moraine 11/25

» Wauwatosa East boys basketball team could battle for GMC title 11/25

» Wauwatosa West swimming team has bright future with talented underclassmen on the rise 11/25

» MacGillis, Barkow share Wauwatosa West boys volleyball MVP honors 11/25

» Wauwatosa West boys basketball team looks for improvement 11/25

» Sports Notes: Nov. 26, 2015 11/25

» Wauwatosa East volleyball season has solid season despite just missing another trip to state 11/25

» Wauwatosa Hurricanes return three state qualifiers — Danny Larson, Cal Hartt, Avery Weishoff 11/25

» Milwaukee County Zoo celebrates first birthday of young gorilla 11/24

» Wauwatosa stores set Thanksgiving, Black Friday hours 11/23

» Tosa's city health department earns national accreditation 11/23

» Free screening of 'Most Likely to Succeed' held Dec. 1 11/23

» Wauwatosa stores launch Small Business Saturday event 11/20

» Updated state championship game rankings of area prep football teams and players 11/19

» Wauwatosa dealership taking 'extra precautions' after four vehicles were stolen Updated:  11/19

» Wauwatosa East girls basketball team has plenty of experience returning 11/18

» Wauwatosa East's Potter earns two team cross-country awards 11/18

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