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Offered by: John Wilson, B.S., BC-HIS – Blue Ribbon Hearing & Tinnitus Center

March 3rd 2020 is World Hearing Day. The purpose of World Hearing Day is to make people around the world aware of the importance of protecting their hearing and treating hearing loss. Hearing is key to communication for most individuals. Without normal hearing, people become socially and physically isolated, and as a result have many other negative health consequences including depression and dementia.

Many impoverished countries around the world have little to no treatment for hearing loss. Charitable organizations work around the world giving hearing to those who would not otherwise have it. The most prolific organization for giving the gift of hearing is the Starkey Hearing Foundation. The foundation gave away well over 1 million hearing aids around the world in the past decade. The foundation is funded in part by proceeds from the purchases of hearing aids at offices such as Blue Ribbon Hearing & Tinnitus Center, charitable cash donations, and recycled parts from donated hearing aids. In addition, thousands of volunteers donate their time and energy fitting the hearing aids.

In the United States we have a multitude of options for treating hearing loss. The vast majority of cases of hearing loss are treatable with hearing aids. There are numerous types and styles of devices including custom in ear devices and over or behind-the-ear devices. These devices offer improved hearing in noise, virtually no feedback or whistling, direct to smartphone bluetooth connections, and tinnitus treatment solutions. Rechargeable options are available in both behind the ear and custom models as well.

Hearing aids are now doing more than just helping people hear. With more and more research showing the connection between hearing loss and dementia, one hearing aid is now tracking physical and brain health using onboard sensors to help individuals be more active. The devices also include fall detection, voice commands, and the newest devices will also have an optional Caregiver app that allows activity monitoring to improve health and safety.

For many individuals, the stigma of being seen wearing aids keeps them from treating their hearing loss. However, as wireless headphones, air pods, and other Bluetooth hands free devices become the norm, wearing something in, on, or behind the ear is becoming the norm. So while most new hearing aids are very difficult to see when worn, most people don’t necessarily recognize them as hearing aids.

Hearing is universal. The need to protect hearing is universal. Everyone should be aware that loud sounds from any source, including occupational and recreational noises, can cause permanent hearing loss. Everyone should also have a baseline hearing screening to track changes to their hearing over time.

In support of National Hearing Day, we will have several offers for the month of March. First, every new patient who comes in and gets a complete, comprehensive hearing evaluation will get a free pair of protective ear muffs. Second, we will be giving up to $1000 trade-in credit towards a pair of premium hearing devices, including the Starkey Livio, Livio AI and Livio Edge. Third, for anyone who has a hearing screening we will offer $50 off custom hearing protection. We will also take donations of any broken, damaged or unused hearing aids and send them to be recycled by the Starkey Hearing Foundation.