If you’ve been diagnosed with hearing loss, especially if it’s a recent diagnosis, you may be wondering how it will change your day-to-day life. The good news is that as the number of people diagnosed with hearing loss has grown and technology has advanced, the options available to support those with hearing loss have grown. This means, with the right tools on hand, especially at home, navigating your day may be easier than ever. Hearing loss becomes more common
According to the Hearing Health Foundation, an estimated 48 million Americans of all ages report trouble hearing. When experts break that down, it means:
Almost 50% of people ages 75+
Nearly 33% of people between ages 65-74
Almost 15% of people between ages 45 and 64
8 million people between ages 18 and 44
That means millions of Americans, many with previously normal hearing, now diagnosed with hearing loss and living in a world that is designed for the hearing.
Thankfully, simple changes in the home can help those with hearing loss adapt and thrive. Home technology for hearing loss
While there are numerous options now to support individuals with hearing loss, including advanced hearing aids, assistive listening devices and even apps for everything under the sun, tools like these are an important consideration for the home:
Specialized alarm clocks – If you follow your hearing health care professional’s recommendations, you’ll remove and clean your hearing aids before bed, then leave them out and open to allow any built-up moisture to escape. That’s a smart strategy to maintain your hearing aid and hearing aid batteries, but if you need to hear an alarm clock to wake up in the morning, then what? Opt for a specialized alarm clock that uses light, a vibration of the bed or a watch on the wrist, extra loud sound or even a particularly strong smell to wake you up.
Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors for the hearing impaired – Similar to alarm clocks, these specialized detectors use alternative notifications to keep you safe. These include strobe light alerts, vibration, increased volume or varying tones. Many of these options can also be connected to in-home alert systems that notify you of emergencies such as severe weather as well as fire.
Doorbells that connect – Doorbell technology has moved well beyond the simple old buzzers. That’s true for everyone, not just those with hearing loss. There are now plenty of WiFi-connected options that connect to other devices in the home. They can notify with an extra loud sound, lights and even screens around the house showing that someone is at the door or approaching your home. Prefer something that’s not so connected? Simple doorbells that flash or use higher volume are also available for those with hearing loss.
Telephones – Whether it’s a traditional landline or your cellphone, consider options such a captioning phone or captioning app to help you maintain communication with hearing loss. Speech-to-text apps are another option. Many of today’s hearing aids also connect directly with phones via Bluetooth to make phone conversations more comfortable than ever.
Outfit your home to support your hearing loss with technology like this to make your everyday life easier.
If you have questions or believe you may need hearing aids to treat hearing loss, contact our office to schedule an appointment.
As our day to day lives get busier and busier, it’s understandable that your health can sometimes take a back seat. Annual checkups are often last on our very long to-do lists but are more important than you may think. Incorporating annual checkups in your health regimen not only gives you control over your healthcare but can give you peace of mind when you receive a clean bill of health. Annual hearing tests are no different, and in fact, are equally as important to get checked on an annual basis. As studies show untreated hearing loss can result in irreversible damage to your hearing or health, getting an annual check-up is a perfect way to ensure you have done everything to prevent or spot indicators of hearing loss.
You’re Never Too Young to Start
There is a high chance that you have a person in their life affected by hearing loss, whether it is a loved one or even yourself. In fact, hearing loss is the most common chronic health condition in the United States, affecting people of all ages and walks of life. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), One in three people between the ages of 65 and 74 suffer from hearing loss, while a 2005 National Health Survey found that 5 out of every 1000 children are impacted.
As hearing loss is found in widely ranging age groups, it’s clear that annual hearing tests can be a proactive tool regardless of age, but is not the only reason you should include them in your healthcare regimen. Noise-induced hearing loss is increasing among younger generations as excessive exposure to loud volumes is becoming more common. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), nearly 50% of people between the ages of 12 and 35 are at risk of hearing loss due to exposure to prolonged sound. Environments that younger populations are often exposed to such as nightclubs or concerts, and listening to music through a personal device, are all contributors to this risk, making it vital that even younger populations get an annual hearing test before irreversible damage has taken place. As Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO Director-General warns “They must understand that once they lose their hearing, it won’t come back.”
There Are Links Between Untreated Hearing Loss and Dementia
Without an annual hearing test, hearing loss can go undetected until it becomes a serious problem. As many do not seek treatment for an average of 10 years after experiencing signs of hearing loss, irreversible damage and accompanying health problems are common, such as dementia and depression. Due to a lack of auditory stimulation, cognitive decline can increase the likelihood of dementia as we age, compounding the importance of early detection before hearing loss has gone untreated for longer than it should.
Despite your age or condition, don’t skip your doctor’s appointment just yet. Including an annual hearing test in your healthcare regimen can help you detect hearing loss before it becomes a serious health issue.
Technology is quickly making itself a central place in our daily lives if it hasn’t already. While smartphones and wearable tech are now more a fact of life than a convenient accessory, voice-controlled home technology systems, such as Amazon’s Alexa are becoming more and more popular.
Alexa and other similar devices are easy and convenient ways to quickly listen to music, podcasts, and the news without ever having to leave your seat or pause what you’re doing. With a simple command, Alexa can play your favorite song or update you on the day’s breaking headlines.
But what if Alexa could also help test your hearing? Thanks to a new app on the Alexa platform, this just might be possible. The App
The independent UK-based company, Amplify Hearing’s latest venture – the Hearing Screener – is an Amazon Alexa-based app that purports to be able to test your hearing in the comfort of your own home. Through a five-minute hearing test that includes spoken phrases and frequency tones, the Hearing Screener can identify signs of hearing loss, at which point it then recommends booking an appointment with a hearing healthcare professional.
The Hearing Screener’s simplicity and ease of use is its main selling point, as it requires little, if any real effort on the part of the individual. With just a few voice commands, anyone with an Amazon Alexa intelligent virtual assistant system can identify whether or not they might have hearing loss.
Since more than 100 million new Amazon Alexa devices have been sold so far this year alone, the Hearing Screener’s potential reach is huge, making it a prime candidate to revolutionize the world of hearing healthcare. According to Amplify Hearing, the screener has a high rate of accuracy, so it might be able to identify hearing loss in people who are unsure if they should seek out help.
All of this sounds great, of course, but is the Hearing Screener really all it’s cracked up to be? A Replacement For Hearing Test Appointments?
Although taking a hearing test from the comfort of your own couch sounds pretty luxurious, many hearing healthcare professionals are skeptical about the Hearing Screener. While many hearing healthcare professionals don’t necessarily doubt the accuracy of the at-home Alexa-based hearing test, they do worry that people will use the test as a definitive resource for their hearing healthcare, preferring to take advice from the app rather than see a trained professional.
Since the test is so convenient, many hearing health professionals fear that people will choose not to undergo a professional assessment, thus leading to higher rates of untreated hearing loss. Thus, while the Hearing Screening is poised to help millions learn more about their hearing, it’s important to remember that it’s no substitute for a hearing test that’s administered by a hearing healthcare professional.
Rather, the Hearing Screening is yet another awesome smart technology-powered tool to help people better engage with their own hearing healthcare. As the app is still in its infancy, it will be exciting to see how its technology develops and how the test results factor into individuals’ decisions to see a professional. If you’re concerned that you or a loved one might have hearing loss, a consultation with a hearing healthcare professional can help get you started on your path to a healthier and happier hearing experience
The loss of hearing is one of the most widespread conditions in America, yet many people who need them do not wear them. A significant reason that people give for this avoidance of hearing aids is the cost. It is true, the cost of hearing aids and maintenance can be substantial, although the improvement to the quality of one’s life is well worth the price. However, there is encouraging news. United Healthcare is now offering hearing aid insurance to expand hearing aid access to those who would not otherwise be able to purchase hearing aids. CareCredit is providing a new system that makes the process easier for the provider and the patient.
Hearing Health Insurance
United Healthcare Hearing will offer hearing health that is affordable for individuals, employer-based sponsor, and Medicare Advantage plan participants. Custom-programmed hearing aids will cost up to 80 percent less than the price of a device sold in the usual manner. Employers will be able to offer hearing health benefit plans that include a wide range of hearing aid options as well as access to a national network of hearing healthcare professionals. Participants with Medicare Advantage plans will be able to choose custom-programmed hearing aids with no out-of-pocket cost.
All of United Healthcare’s 25 million members will have access to hearing healthcare with more than 5,000 hearing healthcare professionals participating in the plan. The plan, which is known as UnitedHealthcare Hearing, is a merger between the largest provider of hearing insurance, EPIC hearing healthcare, and HealthInnovations, which is a direct-to-consumer provider of hearing aids. The company considers this an efficient way to improve the overall wellbeing of its participants.
Making hearing healthcare more accessible is also the goal of CareCredit. The credit provider is trying to help people get hearing aids as well as make the application process less of a hassle. CareCredit, in cooperation with the Blueprint Office Management System, is now providing more extensive assistance to patients applying for unique financing options. The goal is to enable hearing healthcare professionals the ability to save time and increase productivity. This new system allows CareCredit transactions to be written automatically back to the ledger which saves time and minimizes human error. The CareCredit application process is more straightforward as the information automatically transfers to the CareCredit application. The hearing healthcare professionals fill in a few additional fields of data and receive a decision quickly. Because cost keeps patients from getting the hearing aids they need, this arrangement provides easy access to financial assistance.
Increasing the accessibility of hearing health is vital. Many people need hearing aids, but few use them. People often cite cost as a deterrent for using hearing aids, and at an average price of $6,000 a pair, it is a sound reason. However, insurance plans and unique financing options may be changing things. Hopefully, improving accessibility to hearing aids will help all people who need hearing aids. This welcome news may help improve the hearing health and quality of life of countless individuals.