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Speak Up About Hearing Loss

Speak Up About Hearing Loss, a new broadcast public-service announcement (PSA) campaign by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) has been launched to encourage older Americans to seek treatment for hearing loss.
The ASHA campaign is distributing English and Spanish versions of video and audio PSAs to major broadcast outlets nationwide to end the silence that surrounds hearing loss among older Americans, judging from a recent poll of AARP members by AARP and ASHA.
More than half of the poll respondents reported having untreated hearing problems. Also, findings indicated that hearing problems weren’t being discussed in many cases, either by the individuals who were experiencing the problems or by the people close to those individuals, even though untreated hearing loss significantly fosters other problems, such as social isolation and depression.
Earlier this year, Johns Hopkins University researchers reported that “evidence is beginning to surface that hearing loss is associated with poorer cognitive functioning and the risk of dementia.” Groups such as the National Council on the Aging and the Better Hearing Institute have warned about the consequences of untreated hearing loss among seniors, as well as all other age groups.
ASHA’s new campaign homes in on one particular finding from the AARP-ASHA poll showing that nearly 70% of respondents would seek treatment for hearing problems if they were asked to do so by loved ones.
“Our campaign has a simple but important aim: to put hearing loss among older people on the family kitchen table for discussion that will hopefully lead to action,” ASHA President Shelly Chabon, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, says. “Currently, hearing loss among seniors is being ignored at the risk of considerable health, social and financial costs for individuals and society alike. The size of our older population is increasing significantly every day. It is long past time to end the silence and lack of action when it comes to untreated hearing loss among older people.”
ASHA President Chabon encourages the public to visit, the site for Speak Up About Hearing Loss, for information and leads to resources, including where people can find audiologists for help. “As a first action step, we hope families will encourage their loved ones to visit an audiologist for a thorough hearing assessment.”

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