On May 18, the Garden City Retired Men's Club's monthly speaker was Paul A. Bell, MD, an otolaryngologist associated with Winthrop University Hospital and the 37-office network of ENT and Allergy Associates. After the lecture, about 15 attendees had brief hearing screenings to determine whether their hearing was normal or abnormal. Dr. Bell's PowerPoint presentation was very well received and a lively Q & A followed his formal remarks.
Here are some highlights of this very informative presentation:
1. Hearing loss is a direct result of the aging process. Until people reach their 40s, most are unlikely to suffer from hearing loss. In their 50s and 60s people begin to experience some loss of hearing, with a high percent of sufferers in their 70s and 80s.
2. Other than natural aging, people could experience hearing loss from infections, high noise exposure, Q-tip injury or being too close to loud music.
3. Physicians need input from their patients in order to diagnose and treat hearing impairment.
4. It is estimated that 50% of citizens above the age of 50 would benefit from hearing aids.
5. Hearing-aid technology has made enormous advances in designing custom-made devices that do amazing things to improve quality of life for hearing-impaired individuals.
6. The advances do not come cheap to the consumer: cost for a pair of hearing aids today ranges from roughly $2,000 to $6,000 and in most cases is not covered by health insurance.
7. There is still a stigma against hearing aids because many persons have concerns about how they appear to others, just as wearing eyeglasses was once frowned-upon. Wearing hearing aids is gradually gaining acceptance as people become educated about the major improvements in quality of life that hearing aids produce.
8. Finally, everyone should abstain from placing objects in their ears in an attempt to clean them. Cleaning should ONLY be done by professionals.