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Hearing Loss in the News

Hearing health received a lot of attention in the media during the past year. This isn’t surprising, since hearing loss is one of the three most common health issues in this country.

News media such as The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, AARP’s monthly magazine and Consumer Reports covered such topics as the problem and treatment of tinnitus, ear wax removal, advances in hearing aid technology, the subtle effects of background noise, and the importance of getting treatment for hearing loss.

According to the AARP report, while nearly 90% of individuals 50 years of age or older think good hearing is important, less that 45% have had their hearing checked in the past five years. The author’s recommendation: if friends and family comment about your hearing, schedule a professional hearing evaluation. Getting help can lead to great results: 75% of hearing aid users said their hearing aids had made an important improvement in their lives.

Health columnist Jane Brody wrote in The New York Times about the social isolation and frustration caused by untreated hearing loss. She described how hearing aids help keep someone with hearing loss socially and mentally engaged.

We know that exposure to loud noise can damage hearing, but an article in the Wall Street Journal described how even moderate levels of noise – such as aircraft noise – can increase heart rates (an indicator of stress) and interfere with attention. A Consumer Reports article identified noise as the most common complaint about restaurants.

Not all noise is bad, though. Another WSJ article described how consumer product companies pay close attention to the sound their products make in order to attract and please consumers. There is the obvious “snap, crackle, pop” of Rice Krispies. But there is also the subtle but carefully engineered “click” when closing the top of a mascara tube, the loud “pop” when you open a bottle of Snapple, the reassuring “thunk” of a car door closing. Apparently these sounds don’t just happen.

Sound and hearing are important, not just for understanding the people around us and enjoying music and television, but for staying in touch with our environment. Hearing as well as possible is important – so take good care of it!

From our Hearing HealthCare News

A newsletter for our patients, their families and friends

Spring 2013