Hearing Impairment Can Be Reduced With Assistance
About 12 percent of the U.S. population or 38 million Americans, have a significant hearing loss and approximately 40 percent of people older than 65 suffer from hearing impairment.
This number will rise as the baby boomers begin to have difficulty in hearing words clearly. Here are some situations where these problems may occur.
• Telephone conversations.
• Dialogue in movies and television, plus missing the full range of musical notes at symphonies and other musical events.
• Words spoken by their friends and families.
• Messages from religious leaders such as a pastor or rabbi.
In addition to the above difficulties, psychological problems may arise. Feelings of frustration, depression, sadness, anxiety, paranoia and isolation may appear.
There are many devices now available to assist the hearing impaired. Unfortunately, many hearing sufferers do not avail themselves of hearing aids for some of the following reasons:
• Price. A whole range of instruments and prices exist.
Many professionals dispensing hearing aids have payment plans, discounts and other types of financial assistance that make the purchase of hearing aids possible.
• Denial and the stigma of hearing loss.
Many people simply don’t want to admit they have a hearing deficit, but these same people have no difficulty in wearing glasses. Many associate hearing losses with old age even though the whole concept of aging is changing, in part because of baby boomers’ refusal to adopt the stereotype of being old.
Also, many people fear that hearing aids will detract from their appearance. There are many devices available now which are very inconspicuous or are completely invisible to the observer.
• Individuals lose their hearing gradually and in time they forget what good hearing is like.
The summer sounds of tree frogs in the evening, the songs of birds, the high notes in a symphony and the words spoken by grandchildren are priceless experiences which many sufferers have “forgotten” exist. Because they don’t know what they are missing, they don’t consider getting assistance.
Giant strides are being made for the hearing impaired so they should seek assistance in order to experience the beautiful sounds this world has to offer.
Harold H. LeCrone, Jr., Ph.D. Copyright © 2011