By Rita R. Robison
Hearing loss affects nine million older adults in the United States today. It's one of the most common health problems in the country – but also one of the most under-diagnosed and undertreated.
May is Better Hearing Awareness Month and Older Americans Month.
The National Council on Aging, with support from United Health Foundation, wants older adults to know about the signs of hearing loss and the importance of getting screened.
"One out of every four older Americans has undetected or untreated hearing loss, and NCOA's research has shown that most older adults with hearing loss do not realize how much the quality of their lives has been affected," Jim Firman, president and CEO of the council, said in a statement.
"As someone with significant hearing loss, I can personally attest to how the right hearing aids have dramatically improved my ability to work and play, my relationships with family and friends, and my self-esteem,” Firman said. “We encourage all older adults and their families to take a hearing test and find out what they've been missing."
When people began to use hearing aids, many see improvements in their lives, including their family relationships, 66 percent; mental health, 36 percent; sense of independence, 34 percent; social life, 34 percent; and sex life, 8 percent, a council survey on hearing loss and older adults found.
"In recent years, hearing aids have improved significantly because of digital technologies," he said. "Therefore, we think people who use hearing aids today will see even more significant improvements in their lives."
To learn more, including what are some warning signs of hearing loss to look for, visit www.ncoa.org/HearingLoss.