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America's Relationships at Risk: 19 Million Adult Relationships Are Negatively Impacted By Hearing Loss, Survey Finds

Nearly Half of Those Affected by Hearing Loss Have Not Sought Treatment

Denver, May 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Hearing loss is much more common than most realize and significantly impacts personal relationships, according to a survey recently conducted by Harris Interactive(R). Cochlear Americas, a global leader in hearing technologies, commissioned the survey to shine a light on the realities of hearing loss during Better Hearing and Speech Month.

Nearly one in four adults (23%) who know someone with hearing loss say they have either a spouse or significant other with hearing loss. Of the 27 million U.S. adults with hearing loss**, the number one cited relationship that suffered was the one with their romantic partner (35%), followed by friends, family members and coworkers.

Fifty-four percent of adults who have communicated with someone who appeared not to be listening due to hearing loss admit that they find others' hearing loss frustrating -- with 32% confessing annoyance. Others feel ignored (18%) or experience feelings of sadness (23%).

"It is very important for people in relationships to connect with each other, verbally and emotionally. Those who don't feel heard, figuratively or literally, can feel isolated or depressed," said Dr. John Gray, best-selling relationship author, Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus. "The good news is that hearing loss can be helped and relationships don't have to be put at risk."

New perspective to the age-old question: "can he not hear me, or is he not listening?"

  • Men are more likely than women to suffer from hearing loss (17% men vs. 10% women)
     
  • Women who have communicated with someone who appeared not to be listening due to hearing loss are more likely than men to be annoyed (37% women vs. 26% men)
     
  • Men who suffer from hearing loss are significantly more likely than women to say that their relationship with their spouse or significant other has been most adversely affected (43% men vs. 23% women)
     
  • Women believe their relationships with family (other than spouse or significant other) are most negatively impacted by their hearing loss (28%)
     
  • Of those suffering from hearing loss, 57% of women and 37% of men have not sought treatment
     
  • Men are more likely than women to say that pressure from their spouse or significant other would prompt them to finally seek treatment for their hearing loss (35% men vs. 14% women)

Despite the toll hearing loss takes on relationships, nearly half (44%) of adults with hearing problems say that they have not sought treatment. Moreover, only 20% of those who suffer from hearing loss claim to be familiar with the many treatment options available for hearing loss. "It's a tragedy that people don't take action for their hearing health when so many treatment options are available," said Dr. Pat Chute, audiologist, professor and chair, Division of Health Professions, Mercy College. "Hearing solutions exist for all types of hearing loss, including therapies such as cochlear implants, Baha or hearing aids."

May is Better Hearing and Speech Month, which provides an opportunity to educate the public about the importance of good hearing, the social and emotional implications of hearing loss, and the available solutions for those with hearing impairment. While hearing loss is one of the world's most preventable disabilities, it is also one of the most common. The consequences of hearing loss can be severe and greatly impact the quality of life and personal relationships of those affected.

For more information on hearing loss, hearing health and treatment
options, please visit www.raiseyourhand.info.

About the survey:

This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Cochlear Americas between April 10 and April 12, 2007 among 2,576 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for region, age within gender, education, household income and race/ethnicity were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.

With a pure probability sample of 2,576, one could say with a ninety-five percent probability that the overall results would have a sampling error of +/- 3 percentage points. Sampling error for data based on sub-samples would be higher and would vary. However, that does not take other sources of error into account. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

About Cochlear(TM) Americas

Since launching the world's first cochlear implant system more than 25 years ago, Cochlear Limited and its US headquarters, Cochlear Americas, have brought the miracle of sound to more than 100,000 hearing-impaired individuals across the globe. Cochlear's state-of-the-art technologies, based on extensive research and development at preeminent academic institutions, restore the ability to hear sound and understand speech-enhancing both learning capabilities and quality of life for those with severe to profound hearing loss. Cochlear has remained the market leader in its field thanks to an unwavering commitment to innovation, reliability and customer support. Numerous awards, as well as published scientific data, attest to Cochlear's outstanding product line and unsurpassed performance. Cochlear's promise "Hear now. And always" reflects their philosophy of a lifetime commitment to those individuals who choose their product.

For more information about Cochlear's products, call the Cochlear Nucleus Hotline at 800/458-4999 (Voice) or 800/483-3123 (TTY) or visit the website at www.cochlear.com.

Note to editors:

  • 27,186,640 Americans 18+ suffer from hearing loss, 71% of these adults say relationships have been adversely affected = 19,030,648
    Relationships that have been affected
     
  • 209,128,000 Americans ages 18+ (2000 U.S. Census Bureau) = 27,186,640 Americans ages 18+ who suffer from hearing loss
     
  • Friends (31%), family members (31%) and coworkers (21%), based on multiple response

Taken from www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=ind_focus.story&STORY=/www/story/05-17-2007/0004590696&EDATE=THU+May+17+2007,+09:00+AM

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