Prioritize ear and hearing care this World Hearing Day, March 3

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A hearing health professional conducting an audiometric hearing test in a sound-treated testing booth. Wikipedia

MANCHESTER, NH – Hearing loss ranks as one of the most common chronic health conditions that U.S. adults experience, affecting an estimated 48 million people nationwide. By 2050, the World Health Organization projects 1-in-4 people globally will be living with hearing loss.

An overwhelming 80% of U.S. adults say that maintaining their hearing health is extremely or very important to their quality of life, according to a recent poll commissioned by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and conducted by YouGov.

Yet, only 20% had a hearing test in the past five years, compared with 61% who had their vision tested. And most adults also report they wouldn’t treat hearing loss unless it was “severe.” According to the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), people with hearing loss wait an average of 7 years before they seek help.

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) wants you to take action

ASHA logoWorld Hearing Day is March 3, with a goal to highlight ear and hearing care for all. Hearing loss is more than just a “nuisance.” If you have untreated hearing loss, you might have a higher risk of developing certain health conditions—including social isolation, depression, falls and other injuries, and dementia.

By taking action to treat hearing loss, you can improve your overall health, mental health, personal relationships, and quality of life.

As a first step, anyone who has concerns about their hearing (or that of a loved one) should seek a hearing evaluation from a certified audiologist. Insurance, Medicaid, and Medicare generally cover evaluations. Take this step even if you think you can’t afford hearing aids or other hearing services; audiologists can advise on ways to make hearing aids more affordable, and various organizations offer financial assistance. They can also discuss if you are a candidate for new, over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids being sold online and in stores.

Before scheduling an appointment, check with your insurance plan. Some plans require a doctor’s referral to see an audiologist. A list of certified audiologists can be found at www.asha.org/profind, or call 800-638-8255.

Audiologists help with other forms of treatment beyond hearing aids to improve a person’s listening and communication skills; this is called audiologic rehabilitation. An audiologist may recommend use of other devices that may improve hearing at home or in public, provide tips for using visual clues to enhance speech understanding, or advise on rearranging a person’s home or office to make it easier to hold a conversation.

‘Act Now on Hearing’ PSA

Act Now on Hearing is a public service announcement campaign of the National Association for Hearing and Speech Action (NAHSA), the consumer affiliate of ASHA.

For more information, and to learn more about hearing loss, visit the ASHA website at www.asha.org/public.


 

About this Author

Amy Rea

Amy Rea is a speech and language pathologist.