AAA and Associated Hearing Professionals coordinate recognition
(Editor’s Note: The following is a joint release from Associated Hearing Professionals and the American Academy of Audiology on World Hearing Health Day.)
In 2007, the World Health Organization designated March 3 as World Hearing Health Day in order to raise awareness of the growing numbers of those suffering from hearing loss and the importance of hearing health care.
Associated Hearing Professionals and The American Academy of Audiology are focused on educating the public about hearing loss and the impact it has on quality of life. We are grateful that this awareness day was created to shine a light on the significance of hearing loss.
“Noise-induced hearing loss is a preventable and significant factor,” said Dr. Margaret Fritsch Juelich, audiologist. Associated Hearing Professionals and a member of the American Academy of Audiology. “This growing health problem is often unrecognized in U.S. adults, adolescents and children and it leads to a long list of problems including depression, isolation, academic delays, impaired communication and cognitive decline. In 2013, a study from the Johns Hopkins Center of Aging and Health concluded that those with untreated hearing loss showed a faster decline in cognition (brain function) than normal hearing individuals. Untreated hearing loss can also cause an increase in cognitive load, and this can lead to anxiety.
The many consequences of untreated hearing loss lead to social isolation and that contributes to depression and a decrease in brain stimulation. Treating hearing loss allows people to become more engaged socially and social engagement is considered one of the most important factors affecting quality of life.
While age is still the greatest factor in hearing loss, many younger people also experience hearing problems due to exposure to loud music and noises including occupational noise. Among adults aged 70 and older with hearing loss who could benefit from hearing aids, fewer than one in three (30 percent) has ever used them. With adults aged 20 to 69 only approximately 16 percent of those who would benefit from hearing aids have ever used them.
“Audiologists diagnose and treat hearing loss,” Dr. Juelich explained. “Anyone suspecting a hearing issue should see an audiologist who will perform a series of tests to determine the problem, if there is one, and will then recommend treatment.”