The Truth About Hearing Loss
Aging Matters

When living with hearing loss, the individual risks more than frustration, a person loses the ability to communicate and be part of a social community. Estimates show more than 48 million Americans suffer in silence.

Hearing loss no longer carries a stigma. Today, many celebrities like Robert Redford and Halle Berry are not only talking about the issues; they wear hearing devices. If the thought of wearing aids embarrasses you, look around, a lot of people have something in their ears - ear buds, Bluetooth devices, and even headphones. Of course, they use the gadgets for music, phone conversations, and audio books. So, join in and wear ear buds to hear sounds and conversations. You won't look any different from the rest of the earpiece group, and you'd be trending.

Several studies show that hearing loss may increase the risk of dementia - Johns Hopkins University. However, they found that a person can improve memory and mood by correcting the problem. Another report in the journal Laryngoscope found hearing aids improve balance. Since falls are a significant concern for older adults, a few scientists suggest that hearing aids could be one answer for imbalance.

The connection is vital for the human spirit. Psychologists say that people have a fundamental need for inclusion in group life and for building close relationships. Furthermore, the research adds, the consequences of hearing loss is feeling isolated from family, friends, and the community. Additionally, hearing issues lead to depression, poor self-esteem, self-pity, and feeling disconnected.

Since we're created with a deep desire to connect and to feel loved and understood, communication is critical for connection. What's worse is that Isolation may lead to premature death in relationships, emotional health, and the physical body. The statistics of people living with hearing problems:

  • They feel left out 1.5 times more
  • They experience 25% higher rates of loneliness
  • They encounter mental issues 1.46 more times

Do you have trouble hearing? Take the test.

Here's what I found on the AARP website for members. For a limited time, it's free to members to make the call for a telephone hearing test. There are several ways to access the free exam offered by the National Hearing Test. Members can start the phone test process by going to the online AARP Hearing Center. If you're not a member, log on to the National Hearing Test website, pay a $5 charge and receive a code that activates the test after calling the toll-free National Hearing Test number, 800-299-9195. Chicago-based MDHearingAid and hearing aid battery maker Duracell of Bethel, Conn., are offering the test free through July at 844-9-DURACELL (844-938-7223).Hearing loss impacts more than you, it affects the people closest to you and others who communicate with you. It's your choice whether you want to connect with them.

Carol Marak, aging advocate, syndicated columnist, and editor at

Part of the Aging Matters Weekly Syndicated Column

Aging Matters is a weekly column tackling everyday challenges that our growing elderly population and their loved ones face. It is also published in a variety of syndication partners including newspapers all over the country.

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