With the month of May only a few days away, the American Academy of Audiology (AAA) is reminding people that May is National Better Hearing Month. According to AAA, mask wearing has forced many of the 37.5 million Americans with hearing loss to face their hearing loss. Often people will compensate by reading lips and may not realize, or acknowledge, the hearing loss. It says the numbers of Americans seeking hearing help has increased during the Covid-19 pandemic.  

Traditionally, May has been used by hearing care professionals to concentrate their advocacy and marketing efforts, encouraging consumers to get their hearing tested and to see a hearing care professional. The Hearing Industries Association offers a wide range of promotional materials applicable for Better Hearing and Speech at its Hear Well, Stay Vital website, including PSA messages and videos, images, social media icons, posters, and more.

AAA points out that hearing loss causes many to feel isolated. Large numbers of the population experience hearing loss, according to a 2016 study by the National Institutes of Health NIDCD, approximately 15% (37.5 million) of American adults aged 20 to 69, have some trouble with hearing and approximately 28.8 million could benefit from the use of hearing aids. As the baby boomer population ages, more Americans are forced to face hearing health challenges. Growing numbers of younger Americans are also reporting hearing problems. 

While age is still the greatest factor in hearing loss, many younger people also experience hearing problems due to exposure to loud music and noises including occupational noise. Among adults aged 70 and older with hearing loss who could benefit from hearing aids, fewer than one in three (30%) have used them. 

Angela Shoup
Angela Shoup, PhD

“Research demonstrates that untreated hearing loss in seniors is related to poor health outcomes including increasing the odds of falling,” said AAA President Angela Shoup, PhD, who is also executive director of the Callier Center for Communication Disorders and a professor of Speech, Language and Hearing in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences at the University of Texas at Dallas. “Individuals with even mild hearing loss are at 3 times more risk of experiencing a fall, and falls are the leading cause of fatalities in Americans over 65,” Shoup added.  Research indicates that seniors with untreated hearing loss are more likely to develop cognitive decline up to 40% faster than those without hearing loss.

The Academy represents more than 14,000 audiologists across the country and has an extensive “Find an Audiologist” directory, where consumers can locate audiologists based on geography and specialty areas. 

Source: AAA and HR