WASHINGTON, DC—If more than 25 million of your members have a hearing loss, it really does makes sense to offer them information about the condition and how to address it. That’s just what AARP announced last week that it was doing with the launch of its Hearing Resource Center.
The purpose of the online platform is to provide AARP’s nearly 38 million members, age 50 and older, and other consumers interested in hearing help with information, tips, tools, and links to related product solutions and programs. A Spanish language version of the site is also available.
Stephanie Miles, vice-president of member value, products, and platforms at AARP, explained, “Our research shows that hearing loss can impact the income of a working individual and, in certain cases, affects other aspects of health.” Yet, she added, as many as 70% of those with hearing loss do not get help for it.
AARP hopes that its Hearing Resource Center will encourage and help people with hearing loss to do something about it.
The new AARP web site contains numerous tools and tips for living well with hearing impairment. For example, a section entitled “How to Pick the Best Hearing Devices for You” describes the seven most common styles of hearing aids. It then describes the pros and cons of each to help visitors choose which one might be best for their hearing needs.
This month, the constantly changing resource center presents a seasonal slide show, “Eight Tips for Better Hearing over the Holidays.” One tip is that at social gatherings where some people don’t hear as well as they used to, the hosts should reduce background noise by turning off the TV and radio and not empty the dishwasher when people are still talking around the dinner table.
“Ten Celebrities with Hearing Issues” turns the spotlight on people whose hearing loss was already common knowledge, such as former President Bill Clinton and Rush Limbaugh. It also reports on others, such as Stephen Colbert and Jodie Foster, whose stories are less known. Colbert lost hearing in his right ear at age 10 when a tumor was removed from it. The generally very private Foster revealed that she has had attacks of vertigo and sometimes wears a hearing aid.
Perhaps the celebrity with the most dramatic hearing loss story is Robert Redford, who, at age 77, performed his own stunts in the 2013 movie, All Is Lost.
Portraying a sailor stranded alone in the Indian Ocean, he spent many days during the shoot in a huge water tank while a hose pelted him with water. As a result, he developed an ear infection that cost him most of his hearing in his left ear.
AND MUCH MORE
Other topics featured at the Hearing Resource Center include “Why hearing aids are so expensive,” along with, fittingly, “Advice on ways you can get financial help.” There are also sections entitled “Ten things to know about purchasing a hearing aid” and “Test your hearing health,” that asks 10 yes or no questions to help you determine if you’re not hearing so well.