Promoting Across America Hearing Check Challenge during Better Speech and Hearing Month Submitted by Dr. April Pittman
May 1 marks the start of Better Hearing and Speech Month, a month dedicated to educating consumers about the need to assure that their hearing is healthy. This year, Salisbury Audiology and Hearing Aid Services is joining the Better Hearing and Speech Council (BHSC) in promoting the Across America Hearing Check Challenge www.hearingcheck.org –an online hearing test that lets individuals quickly and confidentially determine if they need a comprehensive hearing check by a hearing professional. Salisbury Audiology and Hearing Aid Services is urging everyone in Rowan County to rise to the challenge, visit www.hearingcheck.org, and walk through a simple, 15-question self-screener in the privacy of their own homes.
“We know that unaddressed hearing loss seriously undercuts a person’s quality of life and has a tremendous impact on relationships,” says audiologist, Dr. April Pittman. “We see it every day in our practice and hear it from our patients and their concerned family members and friends.
“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. That’s Salisbury Audiology and Hearing Aid Services is so excited about this updated, simple, and interactive screening check that couples, families, and anyone else can use in the comfort and privacy of their own homes. By visiting www.hearingcheck.org, members of our community can take the first, most critical step in reclaiming their hearing—and their quality of life. And when they’re ready to take that next step—and get a professional assessment—we’re here and ready to help.”
The signs of hearing loss can be subtle and emerge slowly, or they can be significant and come on suddenly. Either way, there are common indications. Symptoms of hearing loss include not being able to hear well in a crowded room or restaurant, having trouble hearing children and women, keeping the television or radio turned up to a high volume, needing to ask friends to repeat what they’re saying, or experiencing ringing in the ears.
“Research shows that hearing health affects everything from job performance and income to personal relationships,” says Sergei Kochkin, PhD, executive director of the Better Hearing Institute and a leading member of the BHSC. “Increasingly, research shows a correlation between hearing loss and other chronic medical conditions including diabetes, heart disease, chronic kidney disease, and Alzheimer’s.”
During Better Hearing and Speech Month, Salisbury Audiology also is warning people of the financial dangers of leaving hearing loss unaddressed. People with untreated hearing loss lose as much as $30,000 in income annually, depending on their degree of hearing loss. The cost to society is estimated at $26 billion each year in unrealized federal taxes. To those with unaided hearing loss, the yearly cost is estimated at $176 billion. However, in a recent BHI study, the use of hearing aids was shown to reduce the risk of income loss by 90 to 100 percent for those with milder hearing loss, and from 65 to 77 percent for those with severe to moderate hearing loss. What’s more, hearing aid use was shown to reduce unemployment among hearing aid users.
“Most people don’t have to suffer the consequences of unaddressed hearing loss,” says Dr. Pittman. “Hearing loss can be easily diagnosed, and there are modern-day solutions that can help people hear better. Simply by getting their hearing checked and addressing their hearing loss, people in our community can reclaim their quality of life.
More About Hearing Loss and Hearing Aids
Numerous studies have linked untreated hearing loss to a wide range of physical and emotional conditions, including impaired memory and ability to learn new tasks, reduced alertness, increased risk to personal safety, irritability, negativism, anger, fatigue, tension, stress, depression, and diminished psychological and overall health. But nine out of ten hearing aid users report improvements in their quality of life.
Advances in digital technology have dramatically improved hearing aids in recent years, making them smaller with better sound quality. Designs are modern, sleek, and discreet. Clarity, greater directionality, better speech audibility in a variety of environments, better cell phone compatibility, less whistling and feedback then hearing aids of the past, and greater ruggedness for active lifestyles are common features.
April Pittman, AuD is an audiologist at Salisbury Audiology and Hearing Aid Services located at 644 Statesville Blvd. Dr. Pittman can be contacted at 704-633-6775. For more information, check www.salisburyaudiology.com.
The Better Hearing and Speech Council is a coalition of national and local organizations dedicated to promoting high quality hearing health and hearing healthcare for all residents of the United States. For more information, visit www.BHScouncil.org.