April 10, 2008

In May, as part of Better Hearing and Speech Month, the Better Hearing Institute (BHI) will launch a nationwide campaign to help people reclaim their quality of life by urging individuals to have their hearing checked.  BHI will kick off the Across America Hearing Check Challenge, inviting spouses, baby boomers and their parents, as well as all others to get their hearing checked together.

Anyone may being the process by taking a 15-question self-screener at www.hearingcheck.org.

Hearing health, BHI reports, can affect many aspects of an individual’s life, from job performance to sexual intimacy.  Unaddressed hearing loss silently erodes the sufferer’s quality of life and undermines family relationships, interfering with short-term memory, and creeps into virtually every aspect of daily living.

"We know that unaddressed hearing loss seriously undercuts a person’s quality of life and has a tremendous impact on relationships," says Sergei Kochkin, PhD, executive director, BHI.  "We also know that too many people wait years, even decades, before getting treatment-either unaware of
the extent of their hearing loss or too afraid to confront it-losing out on so much.

"This May, BHI is waving the red flag in an effort to help millions," Kochkin adds, "we’ve developed a simple, interactive screening check that couples, families, and anyone else can use in the comfort and privacy of their own homes. Now, by visiting www.hearingcheck.org Americans can take the first, most critical step in reclaiming their hearing-and quality of life."

BHI has issued "7 Very Real Reasons Everyone Should Get Their Hearing Checked," as the following:

* Hearing loss can strike at any time and at any age.  Of the 31.5 million Americans with hearing loss, 65% are below retirement age.

* Hearing loss affects more than one in four American families and one-tenth of all Americans.  

* The signs of hearing loss can be subtle or significant. Usually they emerge slowly and are often first noticed by others. Many of today’s baby boomers suffer hearing loss from listening to loud music or living in noisy environments.

* Studies show that unaddressed hearing loss can cause irritability, negativism, anger, fatigue, tension, stress, depression, social withdrawal, rejection, memory loss and loneliness.

* Untreated hearing loss negatively affects household income, on average, up to $23,000 per year depending on the degree of hearing loss. But the use of hearing instruments mitigates the effects of hearing loss on income by about 50 percent.

* A Brandeis University study of twins, published in the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences, shows that genes play a significant role in hearing loss experienced by baby boomers and their parents.

* Ninety to 95% of people with hearing loss can be helped with hearing aids-and their quality of life significantly improved.  Modern hearing aids are sleek and usually cannot even be easily seen.

Source: Better Hearing Institute