BHI Urges Women to Take Online Hearing Check During National Women's Health Week
Washington, DC, April 15, 2011 - The Better Hearing Institute (BHI) is urging women to take the online hearing check, Across America Hearing Check Challenge, during National Women’s Health Week and on National Women’s Checkup Day, underscoring the integral importance of hearing health to whole health. BHI is joining the Office on Women’s Health (OWH) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as a 2011 Partner in promoting National Women’s Health Week, which begins May 8. The effort is part of BHI’s campaign to promote hearing health during National Hearing and Speech Month in May.
“Unaddressed hearing loss is an under-recognized health issue that undermines quality of life,” says Sergei Kochkin, PhD, Executive Director of BHI. “Hearing loss can negatively affect virtually every aspect of a woman’s life—from job performance to relationships—so it’s especially important that women and their doctors routinely address hearing health as they would any other women’s health issue.”
Across America Hearing Check Challenge (www.hearingcheck.org)—the online hearing test that lets individuals quickly and confidentially determine if they need a comprehensive hearing test by a hearing professional—has been updated and is now more easily accessible. By visiting www.hearingcheck.org, and walking through a 15-question self-screener, anyone can easily take the first step in addressing hearing loss.
BHI also is encouraging hearing health professionals to organize hearing screenings in their communities; host health fairs; disseminate women’s health information; and publicize National Women’s Health Week in their practices and communities. A list of National Women’s Health Week events around the country is at http://www.womenshealth.gov/whw.
More than 10 million women in America suffer from unaddressed hearing loss. Hearing loss is one of the most commonly unaddressed health conditions in America today, and it affects more than 34 million Americans, most below retirement age.
Surprisingly, the vast majority of physicians don’t routinely ask their patients if they have any hearing problems, despite the fact that one’s ability to clearly hear a doctor’s directions is critical to medical outcomes. According to a BHI survey, fewer than 15 percent of people who received a physical exam in the last year said they received a hearing screening by their physician or nurse during that exam.
Studies show that women—especially younger ones—are reluctant to get treatment for hearing loss, putting them at risk for depression and other significant emotional problems impacting their overall quality of life. According to Kochkin, hearing loss leads to stress and fatigue because it requires so much effort to listen to what someone is saying. Kochkin also points out that women assume many important roles in our society, including assuming the safety and care of children. How well they hear affects how well they can communicate and manage their many responsibilities.
“Hearing health is an intrinsically important component of women’s overall health and well-being,” Kochkin says. “We hope that by joining with the HHS Office on Women’s Health to promote National Women’s Health Week, we can help women take appropriate steps to care for their health—including their hearing health. We hope our efforts make a difference.”
About National Women’s Health Week
National Women’s Health Week is a week-long observance to empower women to make their health a top priority. With the theme “It’s Your Time,” the nationwide initiative encourages women to take steps to improve their physical and mental health and lower their risks of certain diseases. National Women's Health Week kicks off on Mother’s Day, May 8, and is celebrated until May 14. National Women’s Checkup Day is on Monday, May 9.
The message to women during this year’s 12th Annual National Women’s Health Week is to:
- Getting atleast 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate physicalactivity,1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous physical activity, or a combination ofboth, each week
- Eating anutritious diet
- Visiting ahealth care professional to receive regular checkups and preventivescreenings
- Avoidingrisky behaviors, such as smoking and notwearing a seatbelt
- Payingattention to mental health, includinggetting enough sleep and managing stress
For more information on why healthy hearing is important for women visit www.betterhearing.org.
More About Hearing Loss and Hearing Aids
Numerous studies have linked untreated hearing loss to a wide range of physical and emotional conditions, including impaired memory and ability to learn new tasks, reduced alertness, increased risk to personal safety, irritability, negativism, anger, fatigue, tension, stress, depression, and diminished psychological and overall health. But nine out of ten hearing aid users report improvements in their quality of life.
Advances in digital technology have dramatically improved hearing aids in recent years, making them smaller with better sound quality. Designs are modern, sleek, and discreet. Clarity, greater directionality, better speech audibility in a variety of environments, better cell phone compatibility, less whistling and feedback then hearing aids of the past, and greater ruggedness for active lifestyles are common features.
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Founded in 1973, the BHI conducts research and engages in hearing health education with the goal of helping people with hearing loss benefit from proper treatment. For more information on hearing loss, visit www.betterhearing.org. To take the BHI Quick Hearing Check, visit at www.hearingcheck.org. To participate in the discussion forum, visit www.betterhearing.org, click on “Discussion Forum,” and go to “Welcome!” to register.