Popular culture has made fun of hearing loss in the past, but as aging baby boomers are reaching retirement age in epic numbers, it’s no longer funny; it’s a national problem. 78 million baby boomers turn 66 this year, making hearing loss education, treatments and technology necessary for the American public.
We have all seen movies and comics—let alone witnessed an amusing situation—where an elderly person has a funny response to a conversation because of hearing loss. Well hearing loss is not longer a punch line, it’s a baby boomer reality. A recent study in the Journals of Gerontology reports that 63.1 percent of adults in the United States—nearly two out of every three—will contend with significant hearing loss by the time they’re 70. At age 85 and older, it’s four out of five. And researchers at Johns Hopkins University report that nearly six out of seven of Americans over 50 who have hearing loss don’t wear aids. And with a staggering number of Americans reaching 65+ this year, people had better start listening—pun intended—to treatment options.
Truth: We’ll all experience hearing loss if we reach a ripe old age. It’s a natural, biological change. Our ears become worn out, if not abused, over the course of life. So hearing loss education and prevention is something everyone can benefit from. And with increases in technology, there are many hearing aid, cochlear devices and assisted listening devices in today’s Bluetooth/iPod world.
Elderly Hearing Loss Education and Empowerment
Recognizing the signs of hearing loss and understanding the new techno-powers of hearing aids and devices can do a lot of the hearing impaired ego. For example, old hearing aids amplified sounds without distinguishing the sounds of focus, which could make background noise a frustrating experience. Many of the hearing aids also had a constant buzzing or sound irritant that was like finger nails on the chalk board. No wonder people have been reluctant to to get hearing aids! But today’s hearing aids are programmed to match your unique hearing loss, providing amplification in the exact way you need it.
According to David Myers, a psychology professor at Hope College in Michigan and author of “A Quiet World: Living with Hearing Loss,” got hearing aids in his 40s and wasn’t exactly impressed. Now 69, Myers said technological improvements in the past 10 years have changed his mind. “I now love the hearing instruments I once barely tolerated.”
In the golden years it’s all about improving quality of life, right? Watch The Hearing Loss Association of America’s video series below to help you learn about hearing loss diagnosis, treatments, coping and relief…