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July 11, 2012

Middle-aged Americans fail to recognise the need for hearing aids

Many middle-aged Americans believe that age-related hearing loss is inevitable, but actually there is a rather simple solution to the problem.

Middle-aged Americans fail to recognise the need for hearing aids

An American study shows that only 4.3% of 50-59 year-old Americans who experience hearing loss use hearing aids. This suggests a need to send out information and create awareness about age related hearing loss, the study concludes in The Archives of Internal Medicine.

Many of these hearing impaired 50-59 years-old Americans are still working and often attend meetings and social activities. If their hearing loss is not treated, it can lead to impaired-thinking and memory disability, isolation, depression and even dementia. Fortunately, all they might need is a hearing aid.

Dr. Frank Lin, professor at John Hopkins University in Maryland, USA, is behind the study that shows that only one in seven Americans who are hearing impaired use complementary devices to hear better. Dr. Frank Lin believes that the main cause of the lack of use of hearing aids is to be found in the recognition of the need among the working 50-59 year-olds. “Often the people who are unaware of their hearing loss are the ones who need it the most,” he says.

More focus on hearing loss

“The biggest thing is the overall perception that hearing loss is an inconsequential part of ageing,” says Dr. Frank Lin. But he also points to the fact that it takes time to get used to both the idea that you might need a hearing aid and to actually use it.

 “Hearing aids are complex devices,” says Dr. Frank Lin. “It's not like putting on eyeglasses. Hearing aids require two or three months of auditory rehabilitation to use them properly.” But with time, hearing aids can be extremely helpful in daily activities.

The most important thing is for the 50-59 year-olds to recognise their potential need for a hearing aid. The results of the American research call for more attention to be paid in the field. If untreated, hearing loss can have serious consequences that can be hard to cope with.

Sources: and

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