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Older Americans are in Denial about Their Hearing Loss, New Study Finds

A survey commissioned by Siemens Hearing Instruments, Inc. reveals that the average American Baby Boomer believes their hearing is above average, while the majority of their children think their parents should have their hearing tested

Siemens Hearing Instruments, Inc. today announced the findings of a survey of 250 older Americans, or "Boomers," and 250 children of Boomers, which revealed that 72 percent of Boomers believe their hearing is average or better, but their children disagree. The findings show a significant disconnect between Boomers and their children about the severity and perceived consequences of their hearing loss.

There is a significant disconnect between older Americans and their family members, regarding their hearing health. Seventy percent of those with a Boomer father have suggested that their father have his hearing tested and 64 percent have suggested the same for their Boomer mother. Yet only 35 percent of Boomers say a family member has suggested they have their hearing tested. The survey showed that 75 percent of these Boomers currently do not use nor are they considering hearing aids. Only 12 percent of Boomers are considering using hearing aids, but they haven't started the buying process.

"Older Americans are in denial about their hearing loss and are unaware of the negative consequences of an undiagnosed hearing loss," said Dr. Tom Powers, Vice President of Audiology and Compliance at Siemens Hearing. "By taking the proper steps to have their hearing tested and treated, Boomers can greatly increase their quality of life, not only through the increased sounds around them, but through greatly enriched relationships with their friends and family."

Children of Boomers also revealed that they attribute their parents‘ increased feelings of anger, isolation and depression to hearing loss. Fifty-four percent of respondents perceive depression in their father and 50 percent report the same for their mother because of a lack of hearing. Similarly, a 53 percent of children perceive isolation on the part of their father and 49 percent for their mother. Fifty-eight percent of children respondents perceive anger on the part of their father, while 50 percent feel the same about their mother.

"This study reinforces that the emotional consequences caused by hearing loss are very real," said Powers. "Those with hearing loss should not tolerate a life of diminished capacity - especially when a hearing solution might be just one doctor visit away."

Applied Research conducted the web-based survey on behalf of Siemens Hearing in May 2009, polling 250 Boomer respondents between the ages of 50 and 75, and 250 children of Boomers whose mother and father are both living and within the 50 to 75 age category.

Siemens Hearing Instruments is committed to educating consumers about hearing loss, from the signs of a hearing loss to the treatment available. Siemens seeks to make hearing instrument wearers feel better - about themselves and their lives - with hearing instruments. One way the company has done that is through hearing loss awareness programs and by incorporating lifestyle with technology in the development of hearing instruments that can be fitted not only for a patient's ears, but for the person between them. This philosophy has proven to be both consumer-friendly and successful, for one out of every three hearing instruments worn in the world today is made by Siemens.

The Siemens Healthcare Sector is one of the world's largest suppliers to the healthcare industry. The company is a renowned medical solutions provider with core competence and innovative strength in diagnostic and therapeutic technologies as well as in knowledge engineering, including information technology and system integration. With its laboratory diagnostics acquisitions, Siemens Healthcare is the first integrated healthcare company, bringing together imaging and lab diagnostics, therapy, and healthcare information technology solutions, supplemented by consulting and support services. Siemens Healthcare delivers solutions across the entire continuum of care - from prevention and early detection, to diagnosis, therapy and care. Additionally, Siemens Healthcare is the global market leader in innovative hearing instruments. The company employs around 49,000 people worldwide and operates in 130 countries. In the fiscal year 2008 (Sept. 30), Siemens Healthcare reported sales of €11.2 billion, orders of €11.8 billion, and Sector profit of €1.2 billion. Further information can be found by visiting http://www.siemens.com/healthcare.

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