WASHINGTON, April 30, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The Better Hearing Institute (BHI) is raising awareness of the link between hearing loss and certain chronic diseases during National Women's Health Week. BHI also is urging women to take the online hearing check, Across America Hearing Check Challenge (www.hearingcheck.org), which lets people quickly and confidentially determine if they need a comprehensive hearing test by a hearing professional. Research shows that people with certain chronic diseases—such as heart disease, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, and Alzheimer's disease; as well as depression and emotional health, memory loss and cognitive decline—may all have an increased risk of hearing loss.
BHI supports National Women's Health Week, a weeklong health observance coordinated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office on Women's Health. The 13th annual National Women's Health Week kicks off on Mother's Day, May 13, 2012, and is celebrated until May 19, 2012. National Women's Checkup Day is Monday, May 14, 2012. May is National Hearing Month.
More than 10 million women in America suffer from unaddressed hearing loss. And most are below retirement age.
"Unaddressed hearing loss can negatively affect virtually every aspect of a woman's life—from her earnings to her relationships to how she communicates with her doctor," says Sergei Kochkin, PhD, BHI's Executive Director. "And because hearing loss has been linked to several chronic diseases—as well as to an increased risk of falling—it is important that women and their healthcare providers routinely address hearing health as part of their medical care."
Hearing loss is one of the most commonly unaddressed health conditions in America today. In fact, fewer than 15 percent of people who received a physical exam in the last year said they received a hearing screening by their physician or nurse during that exam, according to a BHI survey. Yet the vast majority of people with hearing loss can benefit from hearing aids. And the family doctor still has the greatest influence over whether or not someone will purchase a hearing aid to address their hearing loss.
Through its outreach efforts, BHI hopes to raise awareness of the importance of hearing health among women, their healthcare providers, and their employers. BHI encourages doctors to screen for hearing loss as part of annual physical exams and encourages employers to include hearing health in their workplace wellness programs.
"Hearing health is an intrinsically important component of women's overall health and well-being," Kochkin says. "We hope that by participating in National Women's Health Week we can make a difference by helping women take appropriate steps to care for their health—including their hearing health."
As part of its efforts to promote National Women's Health Week, BHI is encouraging hearing health professionals across the country to organize hearing screenings in their communities; host health fairs; disseminate women's health information; and publicize National Women's Health Week in their practices and communities. A list of National Women's Health Week events around the country can be found at http://www.womenshealth.gov/whw.
National Women's Health Week is a weeklong health observance coordinated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office on Women's Health. It brings together communities, businesses, government, health organizations, and other groups in an effort to promote women's health. The theme for 2012 is "It's Your Time." National Women's Health Week empowers women to make their health a top priority. It also encourages women to take the following steps to improve their physical and mental health and lower their risks of certain diseases:
- Visit a health care professional to receive regular checkups and preventive screenings.
- Get active.
- Eat healthy.
- Pay attention to mental health, including getting enough sleep and managing stress.
- Avoid unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking and not wearing a seatbelt or bicycle helmet.
More About Hearing Loss and Hearing Aids
Numerous studies have linked untreated hearing loss to a wide range of physical and emotional conditions, including impaired memory and ability to learn new tasks, reduced alertness, increased risk to personal safety, irritability, negativism, anger, fatigue, tension, stress, depression, and diminished psychological and overall health.
But the vast majority of people with hearing loss can benefit from hearing aids and three out of four hearing aid users report improvements in their quality of life due to wearing hearing aids. Studies show that when people with even mild hearing loss use hearing aids, they improve their job performance, increase their earning potential, enhance their communication skills, improve their professional and interpersonal relationships, and stave off depression.
Advances in digital technology have dramatically improved hearing aids in recent years, making them smaller with better sound quality. Designs are modern, sleek, and discreet. Clarity, greater directionality, better speech audibility in a variety of environments, better cell phone compatibility, less whistling and feedback then hearing aids of the past, and greater ruggedness for active lifestyles are common features.
Founded in 1973, the BHI conducts research and engages in hearing health education with the goal of helping people with hearing loss benefit from proper treatment. For more information on hearing loss, visit www.betterhearing.org. To take the BHI Quick Hearing Check, visit at www.hearingcheck.org. To participate in the discussion forum, visit www.betterhearing.org, click on "Discussion Forum," and go to "Welcome!" to register.
The Better Hearing Institute
SOURCE The Better Hearing Institute