38 million baby boomers experience hearing problems
Thirty-eight million baby boomers in the U.S. experience various degrees of hearing difficulties, but only one in three has gotten his or her hearing tested, according to a recent clarity study. The majority of boomers with hearing loss fail to seek medical attention despite the fact that half of them admitted that their hearing problems interfered with their family lives. In addition, about one-third of boomers reported problems hearing and understanding a telephone conversation.
“In our ever-changing world, baby boomers are unique,” William Dennison, BC-HIS said. Dennison is board certified in Hearing Instrument Sciences and owns Dennison Hearing Solutions at 3511 Braselton Highway in Dacula. “They are a generation that grew up healthier and wealthier than their parents. In general, baby boomers are among the first generation with a strong belief in an improving world.
“As baby boomers have grown older, they have faced changes in their health and bodies with an open and optimistic attitude. The rock and roll generation’s fun-loving and active lifestyles are setting the tone for those that follow…except when it comes to hearing loss.”
Why are boomers so timid about getting their hearing fixed when improved hearing means better relationships, more income, and has been shown to relieve depression and feelings of isolation? Quite simply, it’s a matter of old stereotypes, Dennison said. Boomers don’t mind doing what they can to stay young and active, but they don’t like the idea of facing a condition that indicates they are aging.
“Past stereotypes of people with hearing loss or hearing aids indicated they were old and out of touch,” Dennison said. “That means hip baby boomers shy away, almost spasmodically, from dealing with their hearing loss. The irony is that the stereotypes are not true, and often an untreated hearing loss makes you look older than you are.”
People who deal with their hearing loss are shown to feel and act younger and are seen as more in touch, Dennison noted. They have fewer problems understanding conversations and are more relaxed in social settings. Because today’s hearing aids are so small, they are rarely even spotted. In fact, it is more obvious to people when someone with hearing loss is trying to cover it up. “Pretending to understand someone by politely nodding or smiling doesn’t often fool anyone--except the hearing-impaired,” Dennison said. “Baby boomers, stop fooling yourselves. You’ve led the way before — you’ve championed change and have shown your kids how to live more active and adventurous lifestyles. It’s time to step up and see your local hearing health professional. Get back into the hearing world.”