A recent Cochlear' Americas survey reveals what most of us already know. Hearing loss hurts relationships personal, professional all relationships. Spouses describe feeling neglected, feelings are hurt, perceptions of being ignored erode even the best friendships, marriages and business or work-related contacts.
And those individuals who experience severe, even profound hearing loss feel disconnected and out of the mainstream. From infants to long-timers, the need to hear is now.
Effects of Severe Hearing Loss
More than 30 million of us claim to experience some degree of hearing loss. As we age, loss of hearing is natural. Exposure to loud noise over long periods leads to hearing loss. Disease, loud noise trauma and aging all lead to severe hearing loss.
"Don't Feel Left Out of Life"
That means that the number of individuals who experience hearing loss severe hearing loss will continue to grow, at least in the coming years. Thankfully, many individuals and all businesses are aware of hearing safety and equip themselves and their employees as needed, so theres hope on the horizon for those who employ protective hearing devices.
Still the Coclear Americas survey reveals some interesting data:
90% of those who experience severe hearing loss reminisce about the sounds missed often the voices of loved ones, the sound of a grandchilds laughter, or simply the routine sounds of daily life.
50% of survey respondents said that significant hearing loss causes less intimate relationships between those with hearing loss and their family and friends. A significant quality of life issue.
60% of those living with someone with severe hearing loss want that individual to get treatment a hearing device to improve communications.
44% of survey takers believe there is no remedy for their hearing loss. Very surprising.
- 47% of those who sought hearing treatment did so at the urging of the family.
Approximately 30 million Americans experience some form of hearing loss. While many of these can be helped with traditional hearing aids, for many, even the most advanced and powerful hearing aids cannot provide an adequate solution, says Chris Smith, president of Cochlear Americas.
Mr. Smith also notes: 'Many of those people suffering arent aware that there are life-changing treatments including cochlear implants for severe to profound hearing loss or Baha for single-sided deafness or mixed and conductive losses. It is estimated that less than 10 percent of the population who could benefit has taken advantage of cochlear implant technologies.
Less than 10%? That is a significant number of people missing out on technology that could potentially be life changing for them.
Treatments for Severe Hearing Loss
Depending on the cause and extent of individual hearing loss, the hearing health industry offers two options for persons with severe to profound hearing loss: extremely powerful behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids and cochlear implants.
Survey results indicate that most individuals do seek treatment within six months of determining they have severe hearing loss. Most of those who do seek treatment are initially fit with high-power hearing aids designed to supplement the limited hearing of severely impaired individuals.
For individuals that do not benefit from high-power hearing aids, cochlear implants are the next option; however surprising results from the survey indicate that only 37% of those who would benefit from a cochlear implant had ever heard of the treatment option.
What is a Cochlear Implant?
As previously mentioned, persons with severe-to-profound hearing loss do not always benefit from the traditional amplification of high-powered hearing aids and could potentially benefit from a cochlear implant. A cochlear implant is a surgically implanted electronic device that directly stimulates the functioning auditory nerves in the inner ear. They differ from hearing aids in that they do not amplify sound, but instead pick up electrical impulses and transmit them directly to the inner ear.
The Good News; the Bad News
The survey commissioned by Cochlear Americas', manufacturer of implantable hearing devices, clearly indicates the diminished quality of life, not only for the individual experiencing severe-to-profound loss of hearing, but for family, friends and co-workers. The impact on these important relationships is clearly negative and does not improve with time.
The price of hearing aids and especially cochlear implants remains a major stumbling block for persons seeking treatment. Few can afford the medical costs and insurance coverage is often inadequate. However, patients can be shown how hearing assistance improves lifes quality something on which no price can be given.
The good news, however, obviously outweighs the bad. When hearing healthcare professionals make patients aware of remedial solutions and when awareness of cochlear implants is increased, more patients will turn to seeking treatment.
Cochlear Americas' is doing just that , bringing awareness through their campaign "Raise Your Hand for Better Hearing which aims to educate individuals on the impact untreated severe hearing loss can have on ones life and relationships.
More good news? The survey found that two-thirds of the individuals who had sought treatment reported being satisfied with the treatment they received and were able to once again enjoy the sounds of life they had been missing.
If you experience hearing loss to the degree that its having a negative impact on you, your relationships or your work performance, make an appointment to have your hearing evaluated and do it today.
Theres no reason to wait any longer. Hear those sounds that make life worth living. Youre only a telephone call away.