The Better Hearing Institute (BHI) is raising awareness of the link between hearing loss and some chronic diseases during National Men's Health Week (June 11 – 17). Research shows that people with heart disease, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, and/or Alzheimer's disease may have an increased risk of hearing loss. Research also links hearing loss to a three-fold risk of falling among working-aged people (40 to 69), depression and anxiety, cognitive decline, and reduced earnings.
BHI also is urging men to get their hearing checked and to be fitted with hearing aids, when needed, to reduce the toll that unaddressed hearing loss can take on their lives. BHI has made available a free online hearing check at www.hearingcheck.org, where anyone can quickly and confidentially assess if they may have a hearing loss and need a more comprehensive hearing evaluation by a hearing healthcare professional.
"Hearing health is integral to a man's whole health and wellbeing," says Sergei Kochkin, PhD, Executive Director of BHI. "It affects his quality of life, relationships, family life, job performance, and even his earnings. And because hearing loss is linked to several chronic diseases, it's important that men and their healthcare providers routinely address hearing health as part of their medical care."
BHI hopes to raise awareness of the importance of hearing health among men, their healthcare providers, and their employers. And BHI is urging doctors to screen for hearing loss as part of annual physical exams. The institute is also encouraging employers to include hearing health in their workplace wellness programs.
Sixty percent of the 34 million people in the United States with hearing loss are male. And more than 15 million men in the United States suffer from unaddressed hearing loss. Yet the vast majority of them can benefit from hearing aids.
In a 2010 study, BHI found that people with untreated hearing loss lose as much as $30,000 in income annually, depending on their degree of hearing loss. The use of hearing aids, however, was shown to dramatically reduce the risk of income loss and unemployment.