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Audiologists Celebrate May as National Better Hearing and Speech Month

The American Academy of Audiology Cares For America's Hearing

(Mclean, VA) - More than 28 million Americans - about 10% of the population - suffer from hearing loss. Approximately 95% of these individuals can correct the problem with hearing aids. The American Academy of Audiology, which represents over 7,600 audiologists, supports National Better Hearing and Speech Month as a way to bring this important information to the general public.

Angela Loavenbruck, a New York audiologist in private practice and President of The Academy, explains, "Embarrassment about hearing loss prevents close to 15 million people from seeking help. So many Americans struggle with their hearing loss that they lose productivity at work, create stress in relationships with family and friends, and leave their hearing loss untreated, creating lost productivity levels as high as $56 billion, according to experts."

Hearing loss conditions now facing many U.S. citizens include:
Sensorineural damage - or nerve deafness, is the most common form of hearing loss affecting some 17 million Americans;
Tinnitus - or ringing in the ears, affects almost 15% of adults age 45 and older;
Noise-Induced Hearing Loss - is the most common occupational disease;
Presbycusis - or the hearing loss associated with aging, affects about 30% of adults who are age 65 or older.
David A. Fabry, PhD, past president of The Academy, adds "Hearing loss in the American public will increase over time as more than 37 million baby boomers born between 1946 and 1964 march steadily towards retirement age." Fabry states that an aging population, coupled with increased amounts of non-occupational noise exposure from rock concerts, personal stereo and CD players, and motorcycle engines and the like, are leading factors in increased hearing loss.

An audiologist is a professional who diagnoses, treats, and manages individuals with hearing loss or balance problems. Audiologists have received a Master's or Doctoral degree from an accredited university graduate program. Their academic and clinical training provides the foundation for patient management from birth through adulthood. Audiologists determine appropriate patient treatment of hearing and balance problems by combining a complete history with a variety of specialized auditory and vestibular assessments. Based upon the diagnosis, the audiologist presents a variety of treatment options to patients with hearing impairment or balance problems. Audiologists dispense and fit hearing aids as part of a comprehensive habilitative program. Audiologists may be found working in medical centers and hospitals, private practice settings, schools, government health facilities and agencies, as well as colleges and universities. As a primary hearing health provider, audiologists refer patients to physicians when the hearing or balance problem requires medical or surgical evaluation or treatment.

The American Academy of Audiology, the world's largest professional organization of audiologists, is dedicated to providing quality hearing care services through professional development, education, research and increased public awareness of hearing disorders. To learn more about the audiology profession and how audiologists are helping the 28 million Americans who suffer from hearing loss, please visit The Academy's web site at www.audiology.org

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