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Study Finds Family Members Play Critical Role in Addressing Loved Ones' Hearing Loss
Date:12/8/2009

acy of their own homes.

According to Sergei Kochkin, PhD, executive director of BHI, lack of hearing loss testing and denial pose significant barriers to the improved well-being of people with unaddressed hearing loss: “Half of people with untreated hearing loss simply aren’t aware of their hearing loss and the impact it has on their lives and the lives of their loved ones -- while others deny or minimize their known hearing loss.”

“To compensate for hearing loss,” Kochkin continues, “people in denial often ask those around them to repeat information at greater volume, unintentionally compelling their loved ones to act as their ears. Yet acting as ears for someone with hearing loss in denial can actually do more harm than good. It enables the hearing loss to have a continued negative impact on numerous aspects of the individual’s quality of life.”

Hearing loss is one of the most commonly unaddressed health conditions in America today, and affects more than 34 million Americans. Six out of ten Americans with hearing loss are below retirement age. Numerous studies have linked untreated hearing loss to a wide range of physical and emotional conditions, including irritability, negativism, anger, fatigue, tension, stress, depression, avoidance or withdrawal from social situations, social rejection and loneliness, reduced alertness and increased risk to personal safety, impaired memory and ability to learn new tasks, reduced job performance and earning power, and diminished psychological and overall health.

“Helping a loved one who isn't willing to help himself is one of the most painful challenges a family can face,” says Kochkin. “And helping a family member deal with hearing loss is no exception. But the most loving course you can take with someone in denial over their hearing loss is to help them come to terms with it so they seek treatment.”

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