Insufficient consumer awareness of state-of-the-art hearing instrument technology and a general tendency to deny the presence of a hearing problem led the International Hearing Society (IHS), Livonia, Mich, to declare October 1-7, 2006, as Hearing Aid Awareness Week. The event has been recognized by the US Department of Health and Human Service’s National Health Information Center and is included in the 2006 National Health Observances Calendar. Started in 1995, Hearing Aid Awareness Week is celebrated throughout the country, in many ways.

“Advances in hearing instrument technology allow modern hearing aids to dramatically improve sound recognition capabilities,” says IHS President Harlan Cato, BC-HIS. According to Cato, only about a fifth of the nation’s 31.5 million hearing impaired citizens with a measurable loss that could benefit from hearing aids are currently using amplification.

“It is important that people know of the great strides hearing instrument technology has made in recent years,” Cato says. He cited advances in digital computer technology, improved identification of sound direction, more cosmetically appealing products, and improved fidelity of sound in different listening environments.

“Help is available for virtually everyone with a hearing loss,” says Cindy Helms, IHS executive director. “The majority of hearing impaired persons cannot be helped medically or surgically. For most, hearing aids are the answer. Hearing aids are a means to improve the quality of one’s life.”

For the location of a hearing instrument professional near you, call the toll-free Hearing Aid Helpline at (800) 521-5247 or visit the IHS Web site at www.ihsinfo.org. A regional listing of IHS member professionals and facts about hearing loss and hearing aids will be mailed to callers requesting the information.

[SOURCE: IHS, September 27, 2006]