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Destigmatizing Hearing Loss: It Affects People of All Ages

Hearing Loss Affects People of All Ages

When you think about eyeglasses, what do you think of? Most likely your own pair or those of loved ones. If you’re more fashion-minded, you might even think about that funky pair you saw recently on one of your favorite celebrities. You definitely don’t think of old age.

But what about when you think of hearing aids? Probably a different story.
 

A PR Problem

In the United States, 14 million people 12 years or older have a visual impairment. Thirty million people 12 years or older have hearing loss in both ears — that’s one out of every eight people.

Both eyeglasses and hearing aids correct a sense impairment — so why are eyeglasses a fashion statement, but it takes, on average, seven years for someone to even get their hearing tested after noticing a hearing loss?
 

Hearing Loss Affects All Age Groups

The idea that hearing loss is something that happens to people in their old age simply isn’t true. Significant numbers of people across all generations experience some degree of hearing loss.
 

Children
  • 2 to 3 of every 1,000 U.S. babies are born with a detectable hearing loss
  • 1 in 5 U.S. teens has some degree of hearing loss
  • 1 in 8 U.S. kids ages 6 to 19 has hearing loss from using earbuds to listen to music at unsafe volumes
  • Over 90 percent of U.S. children born with hearing loss have parents with no hearing loss>/li>
Young adults

According to a World Health Organization report, 50 percent of millennials risk hearing loss because of damaging volumes via personal audio devices; 40 percent do so via noisy entertainment venues such as concerts.

Adults
  • About 1 in 7 U.S. adults ages 20 to 69 has hearing loss
  • 22 percent of U.S. adults are exposed to dangerous noise levels at work
  • About 1 in 10 U.S. adults experiences tinnitus (a ringing, pulsing, or buzzing only they can hear)
  • About 90 percent of tinnitus cases have accompanying hearing loss
Service members
  • 3 in 5 returning service members experience hearing loss
  • Among both active and veteran service members, hearing loss and tinnitus are the most reported health issue
  • 50 percent of all blast-induced injuries result in permanent hearing loss
  • Hearing loss among service members has become a big enough problem that the Department of Defense spearheaded an interactive course that provides early and ongoing hearing loss-prevention training

 

Normalizing Hearing Loss

Clearly, hearing loss is even more prevalent than vision problems. And it leaves no age group untouched. But the stigma remains, such that only 1 in 5 people who could benefit from hearing technology actually uses it.

But there’s a growing online trend of people discussing their lives with hearing loss — many of them millennials or slightly older — in an attempt to remove the stigma of hearing loss and hearing aids.

  • Living With Hearing Loss is written by Shari Eberts, who was recognized as a HearStrong Champion for her tireless work to change the stigma surrounding hearing loss.
  • The Invisible Disability and Me is written by a woman with a cochlear implant who hopes to raise awareness of and support those who’ve experienced sudden sensorineural hearing loss.
  • Cosmopolitan magazine’s brand connection to millennial women is so strong that it launched a Cosmo Millennial Advisory Board staffed with millennials who are experts in their fields; Cosmopolitan regularly features articles about life with hearing loss, covering topics from dating with hearing loss to becoming a NASA engineer despite having been born profoundly deaf.
  • The Twitter page Normalize Hearing Loss is “on a mission to normalize hearing loss and hearing aids and other tech the way we’ve normalized glasses,” and encourages users to include @NormalizeHL or #NormalizeHearingLoss in their tweets.

 

Hearing Tech for Today’s Connected Culture

What’s more, the hearing technology of today is a far cry from the hearing aids of 50 years ago. The digital tech of today is sleek and discreet, minimizes background noise, improves speech clarity in complicated sound environments, and focuses on what’s in front of you rather than taking in and amplifying all sounds equally.

Plus, hearing devices are becoming as connected as everything else. You can stream audio wirelessly from your mobile device to your hearing aids, geotag the hearing aid settings for your favorite locations, even hear a phone call in both ears simultaneously — and control it all on the sly with a smartphone app!


Sources:
Fang Ko et al. Prevalence of Nonrefractive Visual Impairment in U.S. Adults and Associated Risk Factors, 1999-2002 and 2005-2008. JAMA: 2012;308(22): 2361–2386. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Quick Statistics About Hearing. Accessed March 6, 2019. Hearing Loss Association of America. Hearing Loss Facts and Statistics. Accessed March 6, 2019. Hearing Health Foundation. Hearing Loss and Tinnitus Statistics. Accessed March 6, 2019.

Better Hearing & Speech Month: 7 Accessories to Turn Up Your Tech

Better Hearing & Speech Month: 7 Accessories to Turn Up Your Tech

Have you heard? Weíre celebrating Better Hearing & Speech Month in May!

In honor of the theme, ìCommunication for All,î here are seven hearing aid accessories to make sure youíre communicating and connecting your best with the people, places, and moments that matter in your life.

  1. Wireless Mic

    Conversations rock when everybody around the table can join in, but background noise at restaurants and other spaces can make that a tall order. Whether youíre having a one-on-one chat or hanging with a crowd, an extra microphone can help. A wireless BluetoothÆ microphone worn on your companionís lapel can send speech directly to your hearing aid, or place the mic in a central spot for group conversations.

  2. Phone Clip

    Does talking on the telephone seem harder than it used to be? Try using a phone clip. The ReSound Phone Clip+, for example, lets you stream phone calls, music, and other audio straight to your hearing device from a Bluetooth-enabled smartphone. Itís hands-free ó simply clip it to your clothing ó and easily mutes background noise for clearer communication.

  3. Captioned Calls

    Speaking of easier phone chats: You may qualify for a caption telephone that shows the spoken words of the person youíre talking to. This landline device is free if a qualified hearing care professional certifies your hearing loss and need for the phone ó and it works with hearing aids. All you need is a standard phone line, a broadband internet connection, and electrical power.

  4. Audio Loop

    Audio loops or audio induction loops ó installed in homes, museums, theaters, churches, classrooms, medical offices, and other venues ó allow sound to be broadcast directly to individuals within the loop who have telecoils or T-coils, which can be embedded in hearing aids and cochlear implants. You could even install an audio loop in a vehicle, switch on your hearing aidís T-coil setting, and voila!

  5. Remote Control

    Who says remote controllers are just for TVs, DVRs, car alarms, and drones? With remotes designed for hearing aids, you can change your deviceís volume and program settings, switch the source of the audio youíre streaming, set ambient and streamed audio at different sound levels, and keep an eye on battery levels. Boom!

  6. TV Streamer

    When it comes to family time with a favorite TV show, setting the volume to everyoneís taste is no small feat. And with hearing loss, it can be even more challenging. Innovations such as the ReSound TV Streamer 2 ó a small tabletop device ó let you stream audio from your TV, stereo, or PC straight to your hearing aid at a level thatís customized to your needs without changing the volume for everyone else.

  7. Batteries

    It may seem pretty basic, but we had to throw this in: Getting the most out of hearing aids takes power, so be sure to keep extra batteries on hand. Batteries can last from a few days to a couple weeks ó depending on variables such as size, care, usage, and environmental conditions ó but our hearing experts can help you find the right match.

Interested in the latest hearing tech and accessories? Contact our caring team to learn more tips or to schedule a complimentary technology demonstration today!