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​​​​Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is a common occurrence among adults, especially as they age. I was surprised to learn it is the third most common chronic health condition. Hearing loss is a silent disorder, often not even apparent to those afflicted. One in four adults between the ages of 20 and 69 who reported good hearing were found to have hearing loss when tested (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2017). Alarmingly, untreated hearing loss has been found to be associated with anxiety, social isolation, depression, and dementia.

The high cost of hearing aids prevents many from seeking treatment, but another important reason is stigma. There isn’t stigma associated with age-related vision changes and reading glasses, so why with hearing aids? Hearing aids, to many, are a sign of very old age. For me, they were a lifeline. My audiologist said I was her first patient to be enthusiastic about receiving hearing aids. I just wanted to be able to join in conversations and hear speakers at conferences!

There is a lot of work to be done with prevention, early testing, and treatment, so I was delighted to receive a manuscript titled: "Hearing loss: Insights for Home Care Clinicians​," by audiologist Dr. Julie Norin. The article appears in this issue of Home Healthcare Now and is available for Nursing Continuing Professional Development​.

As home care clinicians, I urge you to do your part to eliminate hearing aid stigma. Teach patients the benefits of hearing aids, not only on their ability to hear, but on preventing social isolation, depression, and dementia. And, if you find yourself complaining that people mumble, it might be time to get tested yourself!

Best wishes,

Maureen Anthony, PhD, RN


The Home HealthCare News offers up-to-date information that we want you, the subscribers of Home Healthcare Now to know about and soon! These may be government initiatives, web sites with important information, new publications, and more! If you know of an item that might fit this section e-mail Randi Davis at [email protected]