Each year we learn more about the staggering statistics surrounding hearing loss and how it affects nearly 37.5 million Americans. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), hearing loss is the third most common chronic physical condition impacting adults in the United States, and hearing loss is more prevalent than diabetes or cancer.1 That’s why in 2008, the American Academy of Audiology declared October National Audiology Awareness Month and National Protect Your Hearing Month.
However, hearing is not a mandatory part of an individual’s annual physical screening and generally is deprioritized amongst consumers and primary care providers2, even though studies continue to prove untreated hearing loss has a sizable negative impact on an individual’s overall health3. Hearing loss is the third most common health condition faced by older adults, yet only 20% of those with hearing loss actually seek treatment. With 7-10 years being the average time a person with hearing loss waits to seek treatment, hearing can not only worsen but can contribute to a variety of health issues, safety concerns, and psychological problems.
As hearing loss has become an increasing health concern, it’s important we learn how proper education can encourage early prevention and motivate treatment. So, what can you do on a local level to boost local awareness?
Here are some ways you can provide essential information to your patients:
- Organize a free hearing screening and distribute hearing loss information, as well as business information so they can follow-up post-exam.
- Add consumer-friendly fact sheets to your waiting room or at the front desk of your clinic. Download these customizable fact sheets to help continue the conversation with patients about all types of hearing loss.
- Hold a virtual open house at your practice (Facebook Live or on Instagram Stories). This provides a great opportunity for you and your staff to get to know your community and allows them to learn more about the services you offer.
- Use resources like Noisy Planet targeted to parents and kids (ages 8-12) with messages about the causes and prevention of noise-induced hearing loss, and download newsletters, puzzles, and tests for kids.
You’re the experts, and we want to hear from you! What are some ways that you and your practice are acknowledging National Audiology Awareness Month? Comment below.
- Blackwell DL, Lucas JW, Clarke TC. Summary health statistics for US adults: National Health Interview Survey, 2012. Vital health statistics, series 10, no. 260. Atlanta, GA: National Center for Health Statistics, CDC; 2014. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/series/sr_10/sr10_260.pdf
- May 29, 2019 Cochlear 20/20 hearing study. Survey of 1,250 conducted by Penn, Schoen, Berland, March 13, 2019. Data on file.
- Brody, J. E. (2018, December 31). Hearing Loss Threatens Mind, Life and Limb. Available from: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/31/well/live/hearing-loss-threatens-mind-life-and-limb.html.