October 3rd -10th marks the Hearing Aid Awareness Week. You might be wondering why on earth this week is designated to draw attention to hearing aids. After all, you would much rather camouflage them so that other people don't see them.
However, those tiny, high-tech marvels that fit snugly into or behind your ears make a world of difference not only to your hearing, but also to your overall quality of life.
Yes, they are THAT important! And if you have hearing loss and don't have a pair of hearing aids yet – read on to discover why you should.
Turning a deaf ear to life
This message is all the more pertinent to an estimated 24 million Americans who, according to Better Hearing Institute, have an untreated hearing loss.
The Hearing Aid Awareness Week is organized by the International Hearing Society, a Michigan-based association that represents hearing healthcare professionals worldwide and, of course, in the United States. And who is in a better position than hearing health experts to know just how crucial it is for people with hearing loss to wear hearing aids.
Just in case you missed this very important message before, we are repeating it here: untreated hearing loss will not only endanger your safety, but also isolate you from your friends and family. Quality of life is not only affected for you but also loved ones.
You think we are pulling your leg? Just listen to this – if you can: You are crossing a busy street and can't hear the sound of a car honking at you to get out of the way. Or your smoke alarm goes off in the middle of the night, but you keep sleeping. The possibilities of serious bodily injury are numerous – all because you can't hear.
Then, there are social, emotional and psychological aspects of impaired and untreated hearing loss. How can that happen? It's not exactly rocket science: When you can't hear – or respond to - the sounds around you, when you don't understand the conversation directed at you or around you, when you can't participate in social activities and interactions, you can become a recluse.
Slowly but surely, you will become frustrated at not being included in conversations, interactions, and activities so it is only natural that feelings of loneliness and isolation will set in and take over your life. And that is a recipe for a full-blown depression.
But wait – there IS good news!
Now that you know what could happen if you persist – for whatever reasons – in not getting hearing aids, let's look at the positive side (fortunately, there is one!)
The same studies that show how lack of hearing amplification can turn you into one unhappy camper also demonstrate that once you get fitted with hearing aids, your overall quality of life will improve.
By hearing the sounds around you, you will be able to actively participate in conversations and other activities. Days when everyone around you had to shout at you and you had to strain to hear them, are now over.
And, there are additional perks to being able to hear: A survey conducted by Better Hearing Institute shows that people who ignore their hearing problems collectively lose a staggering $100 billion a year in earnings. But, research indicates, income loss can be cut in half by wearing hearing aids.
That is truly compelling evidence, isn't it? Then why are you still hesitating?
Hearing Aid Myth Busters
|How could you not look cool wearing this? The Oticon Dual in high-tech silver.|
You are thinking that hearing aids will make you look old and not "cool?" Let us debunk this misconception right here and now: statistics prove that hearing loss affects people of all ages.
True, hearing loss is the third most common condition affecting the elderly. However, only one-third of those with hearing loss are over 64.
Just look at these numbers:
- 3 in 10 people over age 60 have hearing loss;
- 1 in 6 baby boomers (ages 41-59), or 14.6%, have a hearing problem;
- 1 in 14 Generation Xers (ages 29-40), or 7.4%, already have hearing loss;
- At least 1.4 million children (18 or younger) have hearing problems.
So your belief that only old folks need hearing aids is erroneous.
Still not convinced? Are you maybe thinking that hearing aids are clunky eyesores? Again, you are wrong. The cosmetic consideration might have been valid many years ago, but today's hearing aids range from compact to miniature in size, and come in a variety of styles and colors. The newest models are hardly visible, so that's another myth that bites the dust.
State-of-art hearing aid technology
We are really lucky to be living in the 21st century, rather than in pre-historic times when the deaf and the hard-of-hearing used hollowed-out animal horns to communicate.
Today's sleek, comfortable and discreet hearing aids have gone beyond just pure amplification. For example, they can reduce unwanted background noises, amplify only specific pitches, or reduce unwanted whistling – the kind your grandpa used to have. More advanced features such as bluetooth, or the ones that control wireless communications between the hearing aid and cell phone, audio system, TV, and PC, are also feasible.
But even if you don't need all these "bells and whistles," a basic model will be just as effective in helping your hearing ability.
And that, in a nutshell, is why the Hearing Aid Awareness Week should be celebrated loud and clear!