Guard Your Health, Connect the Dots on Hearing Loss for
Better Hearing & Speech Month
Washington, DC, April 29, 2014—Recognizing and treating hearing loss may help more than just your hearing, says the Better Hearing Institute (BHI), which is raising awareness of the link between hearing loss and other important health issues. BHI’s outreach comes in recognition of Better Hearing & Speech Month in May. To help spread the word, BHI is providing an infographic, a social media profile picture, and web banners for anyone to download and use with social media. BHI also is inviting people to join in a Thunderclap to help amplify its message. Sign up today at http://ow.ly/wfAWd to join BHI in sharing its “Listen to Hearing Loss!” message, which will be automatically scheduled to go out on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr on May 22nd.
BHI also is encouraging adults of all ages to take the free, quick, and confidential online BHI Hearing Check at www.BetterHearing.org. Anyone can take the online survey to determine if they need a comprehensive hearing test by a hearing health professional.
Nearly 40 million people in the United States today have hearing loss. Most of them are part of America’s current workforce. Hearing loss affects Gen Xers, baby boomers, and people of all ages. In fact, a 2008 study found that the prevalence of hearing loss among younger adults, specifically those in their 20s and 30s, is increasing.
Fortunately, for the vast majority of people with hearing loss, hearing aids can help. Eight out of 10 hearing aid users say they’re satisfied with the changes that have occurred in their lives specifically due to their hearing aids.
When people with even mild hearing loss use hearing aids, they often improve their job performance; enhance their communication skills; increase their earnings potential; improve their professional and interpersonal relationships; stave off depression; gain an enhanced sense of control over their lives; and better their quality of life.
Because most doctors don’t include hearing health as a routine part of annual exams, it’s important to ask to have your hearing tested or to visit a hearing care professional. Once you reach middle-age, it makes sense to include hearing tests as part of your routine annual care.
For more information on hearing loss and to take the BHI Hearing Check, visit www.BetterHearing.org.
Be sure to follow BHI on Twitter @better_hearing, and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/betterhearinginstitute.
10 Things You Should Know About Hearing Loss & Your Health
(1) Hearing loss is tied to depression. Research shows that hearing loss is associated with an increased risk of depression in adults of all ages, but is most pronounced in 18 to 69 year olds. Research also shows that the use of hearing aids reduces depressive symptoms.
(2) Hearing loss and dementia are linked. Research not only shows a connection between hearing loss and dementia, but a Johns Hopkins study of older adults found that hearing loss actually accelerates brain function decline. Some experts believe that interventions, like hearing aids, could potentially delay or prevent dementia. Research is ongoing.
(3) Hearing loss is twice as common in people with diabetes. Studies show that people with diabetes are twice as likely to have hearing loss. When broken down by age, one study showed that those 60 and younger are at greater risk.
(4) Your hearing may say something about your heart. Cardiovascular and hearing health are linked. Some experts say the inner ear is so sensitive to blood flow that it’s possible that abnormalities in the cardiovascular system could be noted here earlier than in other less sensitive parts of the body.
(5) Staying fit may also help your hearing. Research on women’s health shows that a higher level of physical activity is associated with a lower risk of hearing loss. Conversely, a higher body mass index (BMI) and larger waist circumference in women are each associated with a higher risk of hearing loss.
(6) Hearing loss may put you at greater risk of falling. A Johns Hopkins study showed that people in middle age (40 to 69) with even just mild hearing loss were nearly three times more likely to have a history of falling.
(7) Hospitalization may be more likely for those with hearing loss. Another Johns Hopkins study showed that hospitalization is more likely for older adults with hearing loss.
(8) The risk of dying may be higher for older men with hearing loss. A groundbreaking study found that men with hearing loss had an increased risk of mortality, but hearing aids made a difference. Men and women with hearing loss who used hearing aids—although older and with more severe hearing loss—had a significantly lower mortality risk than those with hearing loss who did not use hearing aids.
(9) Hearing loss is tied to common pain relievers. One study found that the regular use of aspirin, NSAIDs, or acetaminophen increases the risk of hearing loss in men, and the impact is larger on younger individuals. A separate study found that ibuprofen and acetaminophen are associated with an increased risk of hearing loss in women, with the link even stronger among women younger than 50.
(10) Moderate chronic kidney disease is linked to hearing loss. Research has shown moderate chronic kidney disease to be associated with an increased risk of hearing loss.
What’s Different About Today’s Hearing Aids?
Hearing aids today are dramatically more advanced than the hearing aids of even just a few years ago. Many of today’s hearing aids allow users to hear from all directions, in all sorts of sound environments, and even underwater. They are digital, wireless, can connect directly to your smartphone or television, and can be as discreet or as visible as you like. A new rechargeable feature on some newly designed hearing aids even allows you to recharge your hearing aids every night, so there’s no more need for small batteries.