Thanks to Lynn Allensworth for reaching out to us via Facebook and sharing this valuable public service announcement!
Dear Dr. Thomas,
On your Changing Aging site you invite contributions about innovations that can improve the lives of seniors. I would like to tell you and your audience about one of those innovations, and how it relates to the hearing health revolution in the U.S.
I am 64, and work with a group of scientists, most formerly speech/hearing or mathematics professors at Indiana University. I work to spread awareness–particularly among seniors–of the National Hearing Test, a telephone-based test they have developed that is unlike any other available in the country.
The National Hearing Test is nonprofit, developed with funding from the National Institutes of Health. It is the first scientifically validated phone-based hearing test in the U.S. It can be taken privately in home or office in 10 minutes, so it’s a no-pressure first step for seniors reluctant to deal with suspected hearing loss.
In a departure from what our parents and grandparents dealt with and the limited options available when they sought help with hearing loss, the National Hearing Test is unaffiliated with any product or service. At the end of the test, takers are simply given their results and told that if they have concerns about their hearing, they should consult an audiologist or doctor specializing in hearing. No hard sell, no brand names, no pressure. The information and the power to help themselves hear better is put squarely in the hands of those who take the test.
Because the National Hearing Test is a nonprofit test, we ask allies such as ChangingAging to help us spread the word about it.
Senior consumers will be interested to know that other big changes are taking place in the world of hearing health. In addition to the availability of the National Hearing Test, they should know that today’s hearing aids are computer-driven and digital, highly adjustable, and may require repeat audiologist visits and even doing hearing “exercises” to achieve best results. This means no more dumping your new hearing aid in the dresser drawer when it doesn’t work as fast as your new pair of eyeglasses.
Audiologists, the professionals who study the advancing science of hearing and the design of today’s complex hearing appliances, are now expected to have their doctoral degree (Au.D.). They simply must master too much technology and research to stop with a 20th-century education.
In short, the hearing advances taking place today can change seniors’ lives–but only if consumers know about and are willing to take advantage of them. Please help us spread the word about the National Hearing Test and its place in the new world of hearing health. You may visit www.nationalhearingtest.org for more information.