In “Hearing loss: Listening to the signs,” Treva Lind, The Spokesman Review, writes about the 37.5 million Americans who have some degree of hearing loss, focusing on the baby boomers who are 20 to 25% of that population. Lind states that “[t]he American Speech-Language Hearing Association recommends that people age 50 and older have a hearing test every three years.” She sits in on a hearing exam for 67-year-old Dale Fowler, who came to the University Hearing and Speech Clinic in Spokane, Washington to see if he needed a hearing aid, a visit scheduled at the urging of family members. Fowler’s exam revealed that he “had some minor hearing loss at high frequencies in one ear, but it wasn’t enough to warrant a hearing aid.” Fowler’s audiologist, Barbara Peregoy, said that his result was “common among baby boomers.”
Peregoy said that baby boomers often fall into a “gray area,” where they don’t yet need hearing aids but still have some minor hearing loss. She then explained why people who need hearing aids don’t get them right away (cost, denial, vanity, or fear of appearing older) and the consequences of not addressing hearing loss, noting that hearing loss is a risk factor for dementia. As for her patient Dale Fowler, although he left without a hearing aid, he did not leave empty-handed–Peregoy handed him a list of good communication skills to help him deal with his minor hearing loss.
Click the link above to read the whole piece, including Barbara Peregoy’s “Ten commandments for good communication skills.”