According to the Hearing Health Foundation approximately 28 million Americans have a hearing impairment. Almost 50 million Americans have hearing loss in at least one ear. Clearly, this number will grow exponentially as our society continues to age and more baby boomers reach 65. Whether your hearing loss is minimal (missing certain sounds) or large (being profoundly deaf), it is a serious concern.
If left untreated, problems can get worse. Hearing loss can affect your life in many ways. You may miss out on talks with friends and family. On the telephone, you may find it hard to hear what the caller is saying. At the doctor’s office, you may not catch the doctor’s words.
A study by hearing experts at Johns Hopkins indicates that there are more serious side effects that have been routinely associated with hearing loss. These include:
- Depression and isolation are more common among individuals with hearing loss
- Those with mild hearing loss are twice as likely to develop dementia, and this risk increases with the severity of the hearing loss
- On average, older adults with hearing loss develop a significant impairment in their cognitive abilities 3.2 years sooner than those with typical hearing
Sometimes hearing problems can make you feel embarrassed, upset, and lonely. It’s easy to withdraw when you can’t follow a conversation at the dinner table, in a restaurant or on the telephone. It’s also easy for friends and family to think you’re confused, uncaring, or difficult, when the problem may be that you just can’t hear as well.
If you have trouble hearing, there is help. Start by seeing your doctor or a hearing specialist in your area. Depending on the type and extent of your hearing loss, there are many treatment choices that may enhance your ability to hear immediately.
There are lots of great products on the market that may be helpful if you’re hard of hearing and just need a little assistance throughout your day. Assistive technology helps people who are deaf and hard of hearing to live more independently. Below are a few examples of what is currently available.
ShakeUp to WakeUp Alarm Clock – The ClearSounds® SW200 Alarm Clock is a dual alarm clock with multiple alerting options to best fit your needs: bed shaker, bed shaker plus sound, flashing lights plus sound, or shaker plus flash. The tone is adjustable in volume up to 87dB as well as in pitch, which is important to those with hearing loss, as certain tones may be difficult to hear.
TV Amplifier – With this product you can enjoy watching television again and hear everything without disturbing others. It can be used to listen to movies on the plane, MP3 players (including iPods,) and other audio sources. And since it’s wireless and lightweight, it rests comfortably and gently on your shoulders.
Home Telephone and Personal Communication System –The VTech CareLine ™ home telephone and personal communication system was designed to answer your daily communications needs and support hearing, dexterity or vision challenges. For those with hearing problems the system offers HD Audio for clear conversations, hearing aid compatibility, Slow Play Function for voice messages, visual ringing indicator, Audio Assist to temporarily boost the volume of the phone and Audio Equalizer, which allows you to choose from 4 different profiles to best match your hearing. Other features include large displays, photo speed dial, reminder capabilities, and a wearable pendant with one-button dialing that directly calls those pre-selected people who you communicate with most or for emergencies.
Fire Alerting System – This product, which includes a smoke detector, alarm clock and bed shaker, provides fire protection for your home and family. It only takes a spark from a faulty appliance plug, a pot forgotten on the stove or a burning candle left unattended for an accident to happen. If you have any level of hearing loss, there’s always a risk that you might miss the smoke alarm alerting you in the event of a fire.
Hearing loss does not have to get in the way of your ability to enjoy life. You can’t reverse hearing loss but you don’t have to live in a world of muted, less distinct sounds. You and your doctor, or hearing specialist, can take steps to improve what you hear and these great products can offer a feeling of safety and security.
Disclaimer: Content and suggestions provided within should not be construed as a formal recommendation and AJA Associates, LLC makes no representations, endorsements or warranties relating to the accuracy, use or completeness of the information