May is Better Speech and Hearing month in the USA. It is the month when focus is on educating the public about speech and hearing disorders, promoting treatment and understanding for people who my need help. With more deafness than ever, Better Speech and Hearing month has become a way to reach many of those reluctant to admit or check if they have a hearing problem.
To recognise this annual event Cochlear Americas commissioned a survey which would better help Americans understand the implications of hearing loss not just for the person with the loss but also for their family, friends, colleagues and acquaintances. Around 550 people from a number of Ear, Nose and Throat Clinics were voluntarily recruited to take part in the research. This included 200 people who are deaf/hearing impaired with the balance made up of family and friends.
Most (90%) of the deaf participants had been hearing in the past so they had a memory of sound and knew what they were missing. Astoundingly 44% of those surveyed who had a hearing loss had not sought any kind of treatment.
The research found the sounds people with a hearing loss miss the most is the sound of friends and family, followed by laughter, a child’s whisper and talking on the phone to someone special. Not surprisingly, because adult deafness is frequently age-related, 12% of respondents want to hear their grandchildren.
26% of recipients reported hearing loss significantly affected their marriage and intimacy. An amazing 60% of hearing partners in a relationship where one partner is deaf want their deaf partner to get treatment so it will improve their relationship.
72% of people said the single one thing which had the biggest impact on their lives was not being able to talk on the phone.
In another study, also released in Better Hearing month, conducted by Indiana University School of Medicine the researchers found that two cochlear implants are better than one. The research shows bi-lateral implantees have “improved function in a hearing world as well as improved speech perception, speech development, and communication.”
Cochlear launched the first cochlear implant about 25 years ago and since that time more than 140,000 people around the world have regained their hearing.
For some people ordinary sounds are extraordinary.
If you’d like to read more about the outcomes follow the link http://www.marketwire.com/mw/release.do?id=851055 Accessed 8/5/08
The Indiana University research can be found at http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-05/aaoo-nro042508.php Accessed 8/5/08