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No big deal: Ending the stigma of hearing loss

It’s no big deal! Really. After all, it’s 2018. So isn’t it time that we end the stigma related to wearing hearing aids and hearing loss? Since inclusion has become pervasive in today’s society, why not let go of any negative images of hearing loss? Here at Preferred Hearing Care we know that people of any age can have hearing loss and that wearing hearing aids is a smart solution to a challenge. Let’s all let go of any negative associations to hearing loss.

Not just “old people” have hearing loss

Some people equate wearing hearing aids with old age, but it simply isn’t true. Plenty of young people have hearing loss and use hearing aids or implants. The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) reports that 2-3 out of every 1,000 children in the United States are born with some hearing loss.1 Schools across the country, from pre-school through high school, make accommodations to “mainstream” students with hearing loss, and several colleges offer programs specifically for students with hearing loss.

Why is there a stigma? Self-perception, ageism and vanity

Even though many younger people have it, hearing loss continues to be thought of as something only old people experience. It isn’t. Nor is it anything to be embarrassed about. Yet, recent research shows that stigma remains an issue. In 2010, The Gerontologist conducted research focused on stigma and hearing loss, and how these may impact an individual’s decision to wear hearing aids. The researchers found that perceived stigma did make a difference in whether people with hearing loss accepted hearing aids and how well they adapted to them.2 People in the study expressed concerns about being seen as old, or worried that people may stare at them if they were wearing hearing aids. But this isn’t new. The study noted that the concept of stigma dates back to the ancient Greeks, and that people labeled stigma to alterations in self-perception, ageism and vanity.

Society has changed rapidly over the last decade

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Americans have improved their view of people with disabilities,3 especially since 1990, when the Americans with Disabilities Act became law. People’s viewpoints have changed. But assistive technologies, such as hearing aids, play an integral role in helping people with challenges integrate fully into society. Getting to know people with hearing loss, seeing how well they manage with hearing aids at home, work and in the community, helps break down any residual stigma.

Hearing loss is an invisible disability

You can’t see if someone has hearing loss, so sometimes it’s hard to tell if they struggle to hear you. A hearing aid may be the only clue. Hearing aid manufactures understand that aesthetics count. Sometimes hearing aids are so well-hidden that they’re even invisible. Others have a sleek design, available in many colors, including a variety of skin-tones. Some people choose to flaunt the latest in hearing aids designs and pick bolder colors, like blues or pinks. And why not? We think that hearing aids are nothing to hide!

Why break the stigma?

Hearing loss advocate, Shari Eberts, recently wrote in Psychology Today that the time has come to end the stigma of hearing loss. She lists multiple avenues you can follow to break the stigma of hearing loss. She encourages the public to do the following:

      “Get your hearing tested as part of your annual medical screening and encourage your friends and family to do the same.”
      “If you have hearing loss, treat it.”
      “If you have hearing aids, wear them.”
      “Speak up about your hearing loss”4

We agree that all of these things can help the public understand hearing loss and improve their own well-being.

Want more information on ending stigmas, accepting hearing loss and finding the best options for you?

Whether you are a “newbie” to hearing loss or have been facing hearing loss for decades, we can help you choose the best solution for your individual needs. We understand that first-time wearers may go through a process to get used to hearing aids, and our experienced team know how to help acclimate you to wearing your new devices. Want to learn more? Make a no-obligation appointment. Should you need hearing aids, we will help you find the right design for your ears. Call (417) 450-4575 to book time with us.

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The World Health Organization’s Message for World Hearing Day 2018

Hear the future and prepare for it” is the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) message for World Hearing Day 2018. To that end, Preferred Hearing Care advises everyone to take care of their hearing health.

Take action for hearing health on World Hearing Day

On World Hearing Day, March 3rd, 2018, Preferred Hearing Care hopes to encourage more people to be mindful of their hearing health.1 Based on statistical projections, the World Health Organization (WHO) has revealed that the prevalence of hearing loss is set to increase globally, and this World Hearing Day discusses how preventative measures could help curb the rise. With more than 5% of the global population already affected by disabling hearing loss2, now is the time to raise awareness and address why people do not recognize the signs when they are affected.

Causes of hearing loss

Many things can cause hearing loss – both in and out of our control. The most common include:

  • Exposure to excessive noise
  • Genetic causes
  • Complications at birth
  • Certain infectious diseases
  • Chronic ear infections
  • Certain medications
  • Aging2

Approximately 60% of childhood hearing loss is due to preventable causes.2 Although not all hearing loss can be prevented, we can take action to take better care of our ears, such as wearing ear protection when working with loud machinery. More importantly, we can pay more attention to our hearing and seek advice from an expert if we have any concerns.

Hearing loss can be a slow process, so it can be difficult to read the signs of deterioration, and in many cases, is easily ignored. In comparison to loss of sight, hearing loss is not always noticeable. Many people have a vision test annually to maintain eye health. Unfortunately, many people don’t take the same precautions for their ears, because hearing is as important as sight.

Knowing the signs of hearing loss

One key element to maintaining hearing health is paying attention to the early signs of hearing loss, such as:

  • Having the television or radio consistently at a loud volume
  • Struggling to follow conversations (especially in noisy environments such as restaurants)
  • Asking people to repeat themselves often
  • Withdrawal and isolation to avoid tough listening situations
  • Repositioning to point your ears toward sound
  • Not hearing the phone ring, the doorbell or sirens

Untreated hearing loss can be detrimental

Our professionals urge you to address the symptoms of hearing loss. We advise you begin with a professional hearing assessment* to eliminate guesswork. Untreated hearing loss can cause serious long-term conditions, especially later in life, so we implore everyone to maintain their hearing care now.

Hearing loss has a number of side effects. Untreated, hearing loss can cause people to withdraw from socializing and lead to feelings of isolation and depression. Several studies have concluded that hearing loss contributes to the early onset of dementia, including the recent study authored by the Lancet Commissions on Dementia Prevention, Intervention, and Care.3 Addressing hearing loss is key to remaining cognitive and socially active.

Hearing loss is widespread – and growing

According to the WHO, approximately one third of people over 65 years of age are affected by disabling hearing loss2 and are potentially at risk of affecting their overall health if untreated. With the number of people aged 65 and above predicted to have doubled in 2050 compared to today4, age-related hearing loss is almost certainly a contributing factor to the increasing prevalence of hearing loss. That’s partially why the WHO’s slogan for 2018 is “Hear the future and prepare for it.” Now is the best time to act.

How can you take action on World Hearing Day?

Just by reading this to educate yourself, you are taking an important step. If you have concerns about your hearing, or have someone in your life who shows signs of hearing loss, make an appointment for a free, no-obligation hearing assessment* so you can learn more about your individual needs. Call (417) 450-4575 for more information.

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High-Tech Solutions for Hearing Loss

Do you have hearing loss? Maybe. Imagine if you could hear and remember better with less effort and stress on your brain. Wouldn’t life be easier if you had solutions to help you recall what people say? Good news! The latest hearing aids do just that.

How prevalent is hearing loss?

The answer is that many people have hearing loss and could benefit from using hearing aids. It could be you or a loved one.

Did you know?

  • One in three adults age 65 and above experience some form of hearing loss.1
  • Older adults who use hearing aids show reduced depression symptoms and improved quality of life.1
  • 60% of our military personnel return home from overseas with hearing impairment2, often as a result of noise exposure.
  • One in five teenagers has some level of hearing loss.2
  • Only 3 in 10 adults who had a physical exam in the last year say it included a hearing screening.3

Are you one of the nearly 50 million Americans4 with some degree of hearing loss? (If you aren’t sure, then it might be time for a hearing assessment.*)

Innovative solutions and advanced devices

Today’s hearing aids include very advanced hearing devices with innovative options. Their minuscule size, coupled with hair-toned color options, provides true discreetness. There are exciting new features that will change the way you think about and use hearing aids, including features that:

  • Automatically adjust to different soundscapes
  • Enable you to listen to multiple speakers, even in noisy environments
  • Connect directly to the internet, your smartphone or television via Bluetooth® and wireless capabilities

Most noteworthy, some models offer a convenient, new rechargeable+ unit that saves hundreds of dollars on disposable batteries annually.

Do I have hearing loss?

The first step is to identify your needs.* This involves:

  • Hearing assessment*, complete with baseline and familiar voice tests
  • Otoscopy exam of your ear canal (hearing loss may be from earwax)
  • Live demonstration* of the latest hearing aid technology

In addition, you can learn about the products through a demonstration.

Could your solution lie with high-tech hearing aids?

Our professional team is happy to discuss your needs and solutions that make sense for your lifestyle, habits and budget. Most of all, we want you to feel comfortable with solutions for your hearing loss. Rather than guess, we welcome you to call (417) 450-4575 to make an appointment today.

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Understanding the Price of Hearing Aids

Why do hearing aids cost so much? According to the American Academy of Audiology, hearing loss is the third most common health problem in the United States (behind heart disease and arthritis).1 Every day, hearing aids help people enjoy a better quality of life by giving them an optimal sense of hearing. Yet it comes with a price – one that is a primary concern of many prospective hearing device wearers. These life-changing devices can be expensive, but don’t let ‘sticker shock’ dissuade you from hearing well.

Just as current wearers of hearing devices learned, many facets affect the price. You will encounter a plethora of options on the market across a wide range of prices – from cheap over-the-counter sound augmenters to the more expensive professionally fit and personally programmed high-tech minicomputers. The choice is yours and we are here to help you make a well-informed decision.

These are not your grandma’s hearing aids

Today’s hearing devices bear little resemblance to their predecessors. Packed with technological features that were even unimaginable only a decade ago, today’s devices offer better sound quality with many advanced functions that bring vibrant hearing to their wearers. The exact features will change with the make and model of your device and will also impact pricing.

The most up-to-date devices deliver a better listening experience that heightens the wearer’s quality of life every day. Many devices can automatically filter the sounds around you, allowing your brain to focus on what you need to hear. Some models connect with your cell phone or TV, emitting sound directly into your ears. Others will work with everyday electronics, like the lights in your home.

These features come with a price. Many years of research cultivated the current technology, design and production. To ensure optimal outcomes, health care professionals personalize each device for the individual person. The advantages of having your hearing properly assessed, receiving a device fitted personally for you, and the benefits of follow-up care all factor into the final cost of the device. Personalization has its benefits. Not only will you enjoy improved hearing, but you have a choice of advanced features. For instance, if you have a smartphone, you might want to spring for a hearing devices that will sync to it. If your version of a “smartphone” is your beloved landline, this feature (and its added cost) may not be of service to you.

Design innovations: now you see me… now you don’t

Many people refuse to even seek out a hearing assessment because they are concerned about the opinion of others. If even admitting to a hearing loss is a struggle, can you imagine what it would be like if you were told you needed a hearing device? Well, fear not as new technological advancements have made some models practically invisible to the naked eye. Whether you prefer hearing aids that would be completely hidden in your ear canal, or ones that would sit discreetly behind them, new designs have changed the stigma of these devices. Many models can even match your skin tone. But don’t let their size fool you as these smaller models deliver some of the clearest sound to your brain’s temporal lobe that is available today.

Take it from the experts… you are in good hands

From the countless engineers who built the varied stages of prototypes, or the designers who took those advancements and made these minicomputers stylish, producing hearing aids takes more than just time. It took a team of professionals that had one goal in mind: giving the world the gift of hearing well. And while you may never know many who have had some impact on your own device, the hearing care professional at your local clinic is an ideal representation of all their work. Each and every one of these people are part of the team that innovated this ancient electronic device to the 21st Century!

Offsetting the price of hearing aids

We have some good news

Some local and national agencies offer hearing aid banks and other sources of help.

The gift of hearing has many rewards

  • Hearing loss may be costing you money! Many studies have shown that those with untreated hearing loss earn less than those who hear optimally.
  • Hearing well means a better quality of life. Whether you need to hear well to be successful at work, or to enjoy leisure activities like dining out, going to the movies or traveling. Not hearing well means you are wasting money if you aren’t getting the most out of these activities.
  • Communicating with loved ones = priceless. Digital hearing aids cost $600-$3500. Flying to see your family across the country = $450. Hearing your granddaughter’s solo performance = priceless.

Hearing aids are an investment in your wellness

Never forget the reason you are even considering purchasing a hearing device: living a full and worthwhile life! Hearing well is crucial to having the best quality of life. To learn more, contact us or make an appointment at (417) 450-4575 today. We can discuss the right choice for your needs and lifestyle. Maybe a hearing aid isn’t the right choice. But if it is, it’s good to know what goes into the cost of hearing devices.

Posted by Admin

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