SILVER SPRING, MD–The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH) will offer a free webinar next week to tell consumers what they need to know about hearing loss and hearing aids.
The 30-minute webinar will take place Wednesday, May 23, at 2 pm Eastern time. The featured speaker will be Shu-Chen Peng, PhD, an audiologist in CDRH’s Office of Device Evaluation. Peng will present basic information to consumers about hearing loss, hearing aids and the different types and styles available, and how to get the most from your hearing aids. After the presentation, there will be an opportunity to ask questions.
To join in the webinar, the agency advises:
- Click the URL https://collaboration.fda.gov/cdrhhearingaidsmay2012/ (or copy and paste it into your internet browser).
- Click the “Enter as a Guest” button, fill in your name, and then click “Enter Room.”
Those tuning in will need computer speakers to listen to the webinar. Closed captioning will be available. There will be only a limited number of spots available for the webinar, which is being held in observance of May as Better Hearing and Speech Month.
OBSERVING BETTER HEARING MONTH
Several other organizations are also sponsoring programs for Better Hearing Month, including the Better Hearing Institute, whose focus on the importance of hearing in the workplace was reported on this blog previously.
In addition, the National Council on Aging (NCOA), with support from the United Health Foundation, is educating older adults about the signs of hearing loss, the importance of getting screened, and providing answers to frequently asked questions and reasons to get help.
Jim Firman, resident and CEO of NCOA, said, “One out of every four older Americans has undetected or untreated hearing loss, and NCOA’s research has shown that most older adults with hearing loss do not realize how much the quality of their lives has been affected.” He added, “As someone with significant hearing loss, I can personally attest to how the right hearing aids have dramatically improved my ability to work and play, my relationships with family and friends, and my self-esteem. We encourage all older adults and their families to take a hearing test and find out what they’ve been missing.”
A 1999 NCOA survey on hearing loss and older adults found that when people began to use hearing aids, many saw improvements in their lives, including their family relationships (66%), mental health (36%), sense of independence (34%), and social life (34%).
ASHA SAYS, “SPEAK UP”
The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) launched a public service announcement (PSA) campaign this week entitled “Speak Up About Hearing Loss.” It’s designed to encourage older Americans to seek treatment for hearing loss.
The campaign is distributing English and Spanish versions of video and audio PSAs to major broadcast outlets nationwide to end the silence that surrounds hearing loss among older Americans, judging from a recent poll of AARP members by AARP and ASHA.
More than half the poll respondents reported having untreated hearing problems. Findings also indicated that hearing problems weren’t being discussed in many cases, either by those suffering them or by the people closest to them, even though untreated hearing loss significantly fosters other problems such as social isolation and depression.
ASHA’s campaign focuses on the poll’s finding that nearly 70% of respondents said they would seek treatment for hearing problems if they were asked to do so by loved ones.