The International Hearing Society (IHS), Livonia, Mich, has declared September 28 to October 4, 2008 as Hearing Aid Awareness Week. The event has been recognized by the Department of Health and Human Service’s National Health Information Center and is included in the 2008 National Health Observances Calendar.

Hearing Aid Awareness Week, which was introduced in 1995, is celebrated nationwide.

Insufficient consumer awareness of state-of-the-art hearing-instrument technology—and a general
tendency to deny the presence of a hearing problem—spurred IHS to dedicate the week to public education about hearing help available to those in need.

“Advances in hearing-instrument technology allows modern hearing aids to dramatically improve sound-recognition capabilities,” says IHS President James Ogurek, BC-HIS. He estimates that only one-fifth of the nation’s 31.5 million hearing-impaired citizens with a measurable loss that could benefit from hearing aids are using amplification. “It is important that people know of the great strides hearing-instrument technology has made in recent years."

Ogurek cites 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. Studies have shown that hearing aids have a tremendous impact on quality of life enhancement for users and their families.”

IHS’s Hearing Aid helpline provides information on local hearing health-care professionals at (800) 521-5247, and offers more information on its Web site.