October is National Audiology Awareness MonthFriday, October 7, 2011
According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, fewer than one in five adults in the United States who could benefit from hearing aids actually wears them. Fort HealthCare Audiologist Lori Fish, M.S.-A, states, “When the subject of hearing loss comes up, inevitably the conversation turns to the high cost of hearing aids, cosmetic concerns, or the social stigma of wearing a ‘symbol of aging,’ or simply denial that hearing loss is a problem for an individual. Despite the cost of hearing aids, there is a bigger cost to neglecting one’s hearing loss.”
Fish continues, “Hearing loss negatively affects relationships, job performance, mental health and function, social activity, and even safety. Basically, untreated hearing loss severely affects the quality of a person’s life.” Fish always offers free hearing screenings by appointment to adults 18 and over at Fort HealthCare’s Ear, Nose & Throat Clinics in Fort Atkinson, Whitewater and Edgerton.
Purchasing a hearing aid sometimes requires a significant financial investment, so it’s important to choose a hearing aid dispenser with your best interests in mind. A hearing aid dispenser, also called a hearing aid specialist, will provide a hearing test and help select the proper device, but most importantly, she will also be available to offer ongoing support and instruction.
Fish adds, “Hearing loss causes isolation because the person is not plugged into the world and relationships around them. They choose to decline social engagements and opt to stay home to avoid putting themselves in the middle of a social setting where they will not be able to hear. This is particularly apparent during the holiday season, when family and friends get together in large groups to celebrate with each other.”
According to a National Council on Aging survey, hearing impaired adults age 50 and older are more likely to report sadness, depression, worry, anxiety, paranoia and less social activity than those who wear hearing aids. A closer analysis of the survey concluded that hearing aid use was associated with a 36 percent reduction in depression among this age group.
Fish states, “Another study was conducted on hearing impaired people that required them to multitask, in which one task required them to use their hearing. Because their hearing difficulty required so much of their focus and effort, the individuals performed poorly on the other task. This is particularly frustrating when these people are involved in important conversations about medical care, insurance matters, or legal concerns. It can be very upsetting – or even dangerous – for them to lose the message simply because they have a difficult time hearing the conversation.”
To make an appointment for a free screening with Fish, please contact Fort HealthCare Audiology at (920) 563-6667 to make an appointment at any of her three locations. Visit www.FortHealthCare.com/Audiology to learn more.