Healthy Hearing’s most popular articles of 2015
It’s the end of the year and we are in a reflective mood. After a year of providing news, interviews and tips on better hearing, we wondered which Healthy Hearing articles were the most popular among our readers? Here’s a list of five that made the list. Did your favorite make the cut?
Hearing aids are medical devices that can change the lives of millions of people, yet most private insurance doesn’t cover them and of the 19 states which require health insurance cover hearing aids, most of these only cover children. Why is that? Seems it depends on who you ask.
In this article, staff writer Lisa Packer explores why insurance companies don’t currently cover hearing loss, what the risks of coverage might be, and how hearing loss needs advocates and lobbyists to bring the issue to the forefront.
Of course, insurance isn’t the only way to find financial assistance for hearing aids, which is why you’ll also want to read our informative page on insurance and financial assistance options for hearing aids.
If you haven’t read this article by Paul Dybala, PhD, president of Healthy Hearing, please put it on your short list. The editorial, written in letter form, was submitted to the President of the United States and members of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology in response to their published thoughts regarding hearing healthcare reform.
In his editorial, Dr. Dybala outlines four reasons why the Advisors’ recommendations will not accomplish their stated objectives as well as four recommendations he believes will make a “more positive impact on persons with hearing loss and their families.”
“This is so on point,” Maria Amparo Fernandez-Vargas shared with us on Facebook. “Reading their recommendations, your #1 was the first thing that came to mind! Also, I don’t know if there are consistent fitting and adjustment protocols. My 9-year old has had 3 very different fitting experiences.”
She is talking about Dr. Dybala’s recommendation to mandate all health insurance cover hearing aids as a preventative care measure. His other recommendations include:
- Support initiatives to promote hearing aids as a health choice,
- Mandate a national best practices protocol for hearing aid fittings and
- Mandate package labeling for risk of hearing loss
If you are a hearing person, chances are good you don’t even have to think about the mechanics of receiving and interpreting sound, a wonderful duet your ears and brain conduct 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Written as part of audiology awareness month in October, this article shares five thought-provoking facts you may not know about how your hearing works.
“Very interesting,” Barbara Kiely Berens commented on Facebook. “Since my right ear is “crap” – a term used by my ENT – and my left ear still has hearing, I’m wondering if this is why I’m spending so much time enjoying the Art Institute.”
Barbara’s tongue-in-cheek comments were most likely a response to the third fact we listed — your left ear is more emotional that your right ear. Other fun hearing facts include:
- Your brain is in on the act. Hearing isn’t just a function of the ears.
- Hearing is a hairy situation. You can’t see them, but hair cells in the inner ear play a big role in your ability to hear.
- Both ears act like wingmen for your brain. You may be able to hear up to four times better with two ears – which is why you may need two hearing aids.
- Hearing loss can make you tired. When you have to concentrate more to understand what you’re hearing, you can develop hearing loss fatigue.
While most of us have experienced a temporary ringing or buzzing in our ears after a spending the evening at a noisy nightclub or sports stadium, more than 12 million Americans suffer from a constant, disruptive version of the problem known as tinnitus.
“My hearing loss is a result of the antibiotic, gentamicin,” Alison Gerardi shared in a Facebook post. “I have 85% loss in both ears. Tinnitus is also a result, as well as vertigo. My auditory nerves were damaged. The tinnitus can be really bad sometimes, but most of the time it’s manageable. I can’t sleep without a fan running because it gets really loud at night. It’s a pain, but there’s nothing that they can do about it.”
This article sheds light on this condition and how the medical profession determines whether it’s a symptom of another medical issue or is so chronic it classifies as a disease all by itself.
Hearing loss doesn’t get the respect it deserves sometimes, and not just from the medical community, employers or legislators. The general public, it seems, is equally at fault. Why do people wait an average of seven to 10 years to have treat hearing loss? We believe it’s because most people don’t understand how hearing works, which is why many of our articles are written to educate. Like this one. Why can’t they sell hearing aids with different amplifications on a rack at the drugstore just like they sell reading glasses with different lens powers?
You’ll find the answer in our article, naturally, but the short answer is that correcting hearing loss is generally more complex.
“The general public get annoyed they need to repeat or yell,” Teri Longenbach Keller commented on our Facebook page. “Vision issues – people are understanding and don’t get annoyed.”
Of course, both your vision and your hearing are important senses which should be evaluated on a regular basis. We hope you read the article, but if you don’t, at least consider these guidelines: have your vision tested every two years and a baseline hearing test at age 50, with follow up exams annually after the age of 55.