Redding, CA (PRWEB) January 28, 2013
Hearing loss affects over 36 million Americans and over 75% of them are unaware they are experiencing subtle brain changes to due to hearing loss.
Why is it that young people are more apt to comply with hearing aid use than older populations? Many people believe it’s vanity, but could it be as simple as a lack of moral support; a fear of uncharted territory?
As a family practice physician for over 20 years and opinion columnist for a local newspaper, Dr. Richard Malotky encourages compliance among those who need hearing aids. He is mainly concerned with the elderly population; a group who is resistant to using hearing aids despite obvious need. “I see young kids all the time who don’t mind wearing hearing aids when it has been determined they need them” Malotky says.
Kenneth Wood, President of Upstate Hearing in Redding, California, has found difficulty in helping the elderly comply with the adoption of hearing aids as well. Wood also says that he has no shortage of custom iPod earbuds being purchased for younger individuals.
The American Family Physician Journal reports that hearing loss affects approximately 1/3 of adults aged 61-70 and tends to present itself earlier with men than with women. The primary obstacle in improving hearing loss in older adults include: lack of recognition and the perception that hearing loss is a normal part of aging or is not amenable to treatment. Patient non-adherence with the use of hearing aids is generally a response to initial treatment results or other factors.
As a user of hearing aids since the age of 8, Wood understands the importance of the learning curve associated with the purchase and application of new hearing aids. He has teamed up with Dr. Richard Malotky to provide tips on ways to increase compliance to mitigate the reasons for non-compliance amongst the elderly populations.
1. "Remember that needing hearing aids is no different than needing to wear a pair of glasses. And much less noticeable" says Wood. Think of hearing loss seriously and educate yourself. Just as someone needs to correct their eyesight to function easier, hearing aids allow patients to communicate and socialize.
2. Family support: Both Malotky and Wood believe that the progression to better hearing depends on the support of each patient’s family. Predominantly, the people who begin to notice hearing loss first are the family members of the affected person.
3. “Understanding what options are available is a monumental first step. People still think hearing aids are a huge device sitting behind your ears. The reality is that it is less noticeable than a bluetooth,” stated Wood. “The technology has changed tremendously and could potentially improve the quality of life for many individuals who are, as of yet, undiagnosed.”
4. Encourage the adult children of those suffering from hearing loss suggest the idea to their parents. Wood believes the rate of adoption would increase if the adult children of those with hearing loss were to make the suggestion for hearing aid use.
5. Make hearing aid education, adoption and use a family goal. Adult children should attend appointments with those affected. Wood suggests scheduling the initial hearing test together to ease the transition. In order to reduce the stigma of hearing aid use, the encouragement and support of family members is integral to the successful treatment of affected family members.
6. Understand that hearing aid adoption takes time.The doctor's recommendation does not mean there is immediate patient compliance. “If new users and their families can understand there is often a two to three month learning curve involved in getting used to hearing aids, then the benefits completely outweigh the hassle, says Dr. Malotky. "We need families to take a proactive approach to hearing loss.”
7. Educate yourself. Wood believes that continuing education during and after the hearing aid adoption process only increases the benefits patients experience. He has even created small group educational seminars for his new patients in order to ease the transition into using hearing aids in their everyday life.
Ken Wood is the President of UpState Hearing for over 22 years. As a hearing aid user since he was 8 years old, Ken understands the unique problems associated with hearing loss and the use of hearing aids.
For more information about this topic or to schedule an interview with Ken Wood, please call Ashlee Tate at 530-588-9737 or email ashlee(at)createmypr(dot)com.