Posted on Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Hearing Aids: A New Health Craze?

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There is a new breed of person with hearing loss. They aren't shy about embracing their hearing loss, hearing technologies, or discussing the benefits of hearing aids. In fact, they'll talk your ear off if you let them! They know about and are eager to learn more about algorithms, background noise and connectivity features. They can quote studies on how hearing helps the body, mind, and increases social interactions. These people are the Jack Lalanne's of hearing loss, leading the way toward a new health craze--one that focuses on hearing aids the way previous movements have focused on juicing.

For years research has piled on top of research showing that hearing loss left untreated can have a negative impact on your heart, increases Alzheimer's and dementia risk, causes depression and social isolation, and now there's another studying showing untreated hearing loss might actually increase psychosis. Sheesh. It's enough to make a person with hearing loss cover their heads and stay in bed. But that's not happening. In fact, despite some of these grim studies many people with hearing loss are stepping out of the shadows and into an empowered, and optimistic role as hearing health advocates. They seem to have gotten the message that the key words in almost all of these studies are--if left untreated.

And that's a good thing! The new-generation of savvy hearing loss consumers are blogging, interacting, and doing much to improve the physical and mental health of their generation and those following them. These hearing loss mavericks are helping to drive the industry toward greater awareness, demanding attention from manufacturers, while allowing those with hearing loss fears to step out of the shadows and into owning their hearing loss and their health.

So why now? Why are so many people with hearing loss--after decades of feeling diminished by their condition--suddenly beginning to feel emboldened and excited? And why are hearing aid manufacturers and the hearing technologies industry responding by not only making bold promises, but making bold promises they can keep? Why are they living up to their own hype and simultaneously responding to demands that they be direct about what hearing aids can and can't do? Maybe it's because there has been a shift in the past few decades that allows people with hearing loss to be heard.

The advancement of the Internet has allowed people with hearing loss to express themselves, to shape the hearing aid industry, and to share information that allows them to form a global community.

It's hard to ignore your consumer when they're posting reviews on your websites!

Hearing health manufacturers compete. For a long time, this competition focused more on technology, on features and upgrades, and that was good. But it's gotten even better. Today that competition has turned toward the individual with hearing loss. And toward the recognition that no two people with hearing loss hear the same. The focus on individuals and the idea of individual hearing loss has created a landslide of sophisticated software that allows for more responsive technology. And it has also spawned new approaches for hearing health professionals to communicate with hearing loss patients that puts the person with hearing loss in the driver's seat.

Not only have hearing aid manufacturers stepped up their game to produce sophisticated and lightweight technologies, but the industry has also become incredibly responsive to their consumers. And the response has been, not surprisingly, incredibly beneficial for hearing technologies and people with hearing loss.

So a big shout out and thank you to people like the Speak Up Librarian, My Hearing Loss Experience, Living With Hearing Loss, Rob Finlay, Shari Eberts, people posting on the Hearing Aid Forums, and also to the consumer who keeps informed and is not afraid to post a review or demand to be heard. Thanks for leading the way for people with hearing loss, showing others how hearing aids can improve their hearing, make their lives easier, and thanks for helping to advance a whole industry. Give yourselves a round of applause!

If you'd like to learn more about using hearing aids to compensate for your hearing loss speak with your hearing health provider. If you need help finding a hearing health provider click HERE to be connected with the largest network of trusted hearing health professionals in the nation!

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