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May is Better Hearing and Speech Month. It’s the ideal time to capture attention and show people with hearing loss how today’s hearing aid technology can benefit their lives.

But we need your help. We know that recognizing hearing loss, accepting it, and finally doing something about it—by purchasing a hearing aid—is a multi-set process that may be emotional and difficult for many people. Our research shows that having the option to look at and ask questions about hearing aids—without feeling pressured to make an on-the-spot purchasing decision—actually brings individuals further along in their journey to addressing their hearing loss.

So for Better Hearing and Speech Month, we’re encouraging people with questions about their hearing to go out and “window shop” by visiting a licensed hearing care professional. If given the option to come in, look, and think about it, chances are they will come in again to actually purchase professionally fitted hearing aids.

Here’s the encouragement we’ll be sending out, come May 1st. We’ll be urging people with questions about their hearing loss to visit a hearing care professional. Please let us know what you think by emailing us at info@BetterHearing.org.

May Is the Ideal Time to “Window Shop” for Hearing
Better Hearing and Speech Month Welcomes Hearing Aid Newcomers

Washington, DC, May 1, 2013—In recognition of Better Hearing and Speech Month, the Better Hearing Institute (BHI) is encouraging people with questions about their hearing to take advantage of the warm days of spring and go out and “window shop” by visiting a licensed hearing care professional.

It can take years to recognize hearing loss. After all, for so many, it comes on gradually. Then there is the time it takes to build up the confidence to address it. It may be frightening. It may be hard to accept. It may even be intimidating. But it is manageable. And it can be addressed. In fact, there are thousands of hearing care professionals across the country ready to help. And it’s a big club—nearly 40 million Americans have some degree of hearing loss. For the vast majority, professionally fitted hearing aids offer great benefits.

What many people don’t realize is it’s easy to get a hearing test by a licensed hearing care professional. And you can do it without any purchasing commitment—no pressure. The first step is simply finding out if you have a hearing loss and identifying how significant it is. If they do recommend hearing aids, there is absolutely no need to make a decision on the spot. Just look and think about it. In fact, many licensed hearing care professionals may provide a free hearing aid evaluation. Many have different types of hearing aid simulators and demonstration hearing aids at their offices for their clients to try when they come in. And licensed hearing care professionals should offer free 30-day trials on hearing aids. So if you do want to try something out, you have plenty of time to figure out if hearing aids—and that particular type of hearing aid—are right for you.

About Hearing Loss
For nearly 40 million Americans, hearing loss is part of life. Most frequently, it results from repeat exposure to loud noises—like at concerts, nightclubs, sporting events, crowded restaurants, loud workplaces, and so on.

In many ways, hearing loss is the unintended by-product of life fully lived—that is, before we knew better about how to protect our hearing in such noisy environments. But when ignored and left unaddressed, hearing loss robs from life. It isolates. It debilitates. And it diminishes quality of life. It even takes a toll on fiscal wellbeing by cutting into earnings potential. Perhaps most notable, unaddressed hearing loss creates barriers and unnecessarily strains even the best of relationships.

But it doesn’t have to.

The overwhelming majority of people with hearing loss can benefit from hearing aids. Eight out of 10 hearing aid users say they’re satisfied with the changes that have occurred in their lives specifically due to their hearing aids. From how they feel about themselves to the positive changes they see in their relationships, social interactions, and work lives, hearing aid users benefit from today’s technology.

When people with even mild hearing loss use hearing aids, they often improve their job performance; enhance their communication skills; increase their earnings potential; improve their professional and interpersonal relationships; stave off depression; gain an enhanced sense of control over their lives; and better their quality of life.

Today’s Hearing Aids
High-performance technology and style have merged with durability and ease-of-use when it comes to today’s hearing aids. The options are so varied there is an attractive solution for just about anyone.

Many of today’s hearing aids allow users to hear from all directions, in all sorts of sound environments, and even underwater. They are digital, wireless, can connect directly to your smartphone or television, and can be as discreet or as visible as you like.

Designers offer styles for the fashion conscious, the trendsetter, the party-goer, the intellectual, the active sports enthusiast, the cautious grandmother, the romantic, the weekend warrior, and even the guy just tired of arguing with his wife and kids about the volume on the TV.

Simply, today’s hearing aids throw away old-world notions about hiding a condition as common as hearing loss. Whether they sit discreetly inside the ear canal, or wrap aesthetically around the contour of the outer ear like the latest fashion accessory, today’s high-performance hearing aids amplify life. They unabashedly send the message: “I’m too young and full of life to stop doing the things I love best.”

Signs of Hearing Loss
If you think you or someone you care about is struggling with unaddressed hearing loss, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you seem to have trouble hearing on the telephone?
  • Is it more difficult for you to follow conversations when two or more people are talking at the same time?
  • Do you keep turning up the TV or radio?
  • Do you sometimes miss a telephone ring or doorbell?
  • Do you seem more irritated or tired at big family or social gatherings?

If the answer to some or all of these questions is yes, it’s time to take that first step toward regaining the reins on life. Make an appointment with a hearing healthcare professional, and take charge of your hearing loss.

For more information on hearing loss, visit  BHI at www.betterhearing.org. To take the free, confidential, online BHI Hearing Check, visit www.hearingcheck.org.

For a step-by-step breakdown of what to expect, ask, and look for when visiting a hearing healthcare professional and purchasing a hearing aid, download Your Guide to Buying Hearing Aids at www.betterhearing.org under publications.