Monday, August 31, 2009

Hearing loss not exclusively a boomer issue

Source Link - Hearing loss not exclusively a boomer issue

Last month, I answered a question from a woman whose dad, a hearing impaired member of the boomer generation, refused to get hearing aids, thus missing communication with his family and grandchildren.

I cited a survey conducted by Energizer Batteries on hearing loss. They surveyed more than 1,000 boomer generation adults who were suffering hearing loss. Only 72 percent admitted their hearing loss and only 11 percent chose to wear hearing aids to correct the problem. Those with hearing problems who didn't get hearing aids most typically said they didn't like the way the hearing aids looked or felt and they believed wearing them would make them look or feel older.

Paradoxically, nearly all of them were willing to wear glasses or contacts to correct their vision. In response to my column, I received the letter below. My response follows the letter.

Q. I can understand why the questioner suffers under the delusion that "hearing aid denial" is a boomer issue, as her father is in his 50s. But why did you support that view? This is far from a problem unique to boomers.

My husband and I are both boomers and we had that exact problem with his father, who is most definitely not a boomer (born in the '20s). Throughout the whole of his grandchildren's childhoods, he steadfastly refused to: 1. have the tubes placed in his ears to facilitate drainage (he was convinced he would have a long, blue tube trailing outside each ear); and 2. refused hearing aids because he was convinced they were still as huge and bulky as when he was younger. As a consequence, he missed almost everything his grandchildren said and had to have my husband or me repeat it to him. Nothing we said would sway him.

He finally agreed to hearing aids a few years ago, after he passed 80 years old. It is now possible to carry on a conversation with him. But he missed my children's childhood and I know that it still interferes with their relationship, as he has no idea who they really are.

Hearing aid denial affects all ages and all generations!

A. I absolutely agree. It's not just a generational issue, except it is much more widespread for the very large boomer generation. They were also the first generation to have their hearing so widely affected by listening to extremely loud music. Hearing aid technology has improved dramatically. Hearing aids are also much smaller and less obvious, so please encourage hearing-impaired family members to give them a try.

For additional information on hearing health, go to or search the Internet. You will be pleasantly surprised to find abundant information on a variety of hearing aids in all price ranges.

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