By Jenny Austin-Krzemien, Certified Concierge Care Advisor

I first started noticing that my dad was hard of hearing several years ago. It took a few clues to put it together. One time at a family function with many aunts, uncles, and cousins in one room I noticed that he was not engaged in conversation with everyone, rather he was off to the side by himself. He is a very social person, so I thought it was odd. Then I noticed another time that the volume of his voice was much louder than normal when he was talking, so I started paying closer attention to this trait. Sure enough, he was the loudest voice in the room time and time again. I also noticed that he was saying ‘what?!’ with a confused expression on his face quite a bit more when speaking with people.

I have a friend who has hearing loss and she says it’s because she went to too many concerts when she was young. She is worse than my dad. She cannot hear anyone if they are not directly in front of her, speaking loudly. Both my dad and my friend have denied their hearing loss for a long time and do not want to talk about hearing aids. Although it would make it so much easier for them to function in the world, I think they are embarrassed about wearing a hearing aid.

I learned some interesting statistics about hearing loss. Did you know that according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, one in eight people in the United States (that’s 13%, or 30 million people!) aged 12 or older has hearing loss in both ears, based on standard hearing examinations? Also, about 28.8 million adults in the U.S. could benefit from using hearing aids.

Hearing aids have historically been very expensive. However, President Biden recently called on the FDA to make hearing aids more readily available and less expensive. Walgreens, Walmart, and CVS are selling over-the-counter hearing aids for people with mild-to-moderate hearing loss for less than $1000. Comparable prescription hearing aids are priced at $4,400-$5,500 per pair!

If you think you have hearing loss, or if your loved one has hearing loss, you can take a free hearing test online at www.miracle-ear.com, or go see an ENT doctor.