Hearing aids improve quality of life, empower those with hearing loss

By Professional Hearing & Audiology Clinics

Professional Hearing & Audiology Clinics is helping Rockford residents with hearing loss regain their quality of life by raising awareness of a new comprehensive research study.

The study, conducted by the Better Hearing Institute (BHI), shows how today’s advanced hearing aids benefit people’s lives. According to the findings of the study, eight out of 10 hearing aid users say they are satisfied with the changes that have occurred in their lives specifically as a result of their hearing aids, and 82 percent of hearing aid users say they’d recommend hearing aids to their friends.

These findings are both timely and encouraging,” said Donald Kleindl II, BC-HIS, ACA, MCAP. “More and more people are suffering from noise-induced hearing loss at younger and younger ages. But what many people don’t realize is how dramatically the quality of their lives can improve with the use of hearing aids.”

According to this comprehensive study of more than 2,000 hearing aid users, nearly 70 percent of respondents said their ability to communicate effectively in most situations improved because of their hearing aid. A little more than half said their hearing aids improved their relationships at home, social life and ability to join in groups. And roughly 40 percent noted improvements in their sense of safety, self-confidence, sense of independence and work relationships. Between 25 and 33 percent of hearing aid users said they even saw improvements in their romance, sense of humor, cognitive skills and mental, emotional and physical health.

According to Kleindl, outdated notions about hearing aids pose a significant barrier that inhibits people from addressing their hearing loss. Kleindl said: “Public perception of hearing aids hasn’t kept pace with the new technologies and discreet designs of today’s modern devices. Unfortunately, these misperceptions are holding people back from addressing their hearing loss and improving their quality of life.”

The BHI study bears out that 79 percent of people who do seek help and use hearing aids are satisfied with them, and 86 percent are satisfied with the benefit they derive from hearing aid usage.

Ninety-one percent of all hearing aid users surveyed are satisfied with the ability of their hearing aids to improve communication in one-on-one situations. And more than three in four are satisfied in small groups (85 percent), while watching television (80 percent), outdoors (78 percent), during leisure activities (78 percent), while shopping (77 percent) and while riding in a car (77 percent).

Today’s hearing aids are about staying young, not growing old,” explains Sergei Kochkin, Ph.D., BHI’s executive director, who authored the study. “People want to hold onto their vitality as they enter and move through middle age. But when someone ignores a hearing loss — which oftentimes has progressed gradually over time as a result of repeated noise exposure — that individual unwittingly begins losing the very vitality they treasure. What this research shows, however, is that those who do face their hearing loss and use hearing aids are experiencing significant and satisfying improvements in their quality of life.”

Another important take-away from the study is that benefit received from the hearing aid, and quality of life improvements, were highly related to the quality of care provided by the hearing health care professional.

I strongly urge people in the community who might have difficulty hearing to make an appointment today to get their hearing checked,” says DonalKleindl II, BC-HIS, ACA, MCAP, president of Professional Hearing & Audiology Clinics. “Because hearing loss typically happens so gradually, it’s difficult for people to understand the full extent of the loss and the negative impact it has had on their well-being. But the good news is that hearing aids can help the vast majority of people with hearing loss regain their quality of life.”

Professional Hearing & Audiology Clinics are currently offering courtesy hearing examinations now through June 29. They can be contacted at the following two locations: Camelot Medical Building, 1415 E. State St., Suite A1, (815) 964-3131; and 3957 N. Mulford Road, Suite B, next to Walgreens on Mulford Road and Riverside Boulevard, Rockford, (815) 637-1777.

From the June 13-19, 2012, issue

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