WASHINGTON, DC -- (Marketwired) -- 04/17/14 -- Hearing loss is linked to other important women's health issues, but recognizing and addressing it can enhance wellbeing, says the Better Hearing Institute (BHI). BHI is urging women of all ages to take the free, quick, and confidential online BHI Hearing Check at www.BetterHearing.org during National Women's Health Week (May 11-17). Anyone can take the online survey to determine if they need a comprehensive hearing test by a hearing health professional.
In the United States today, as many as one-third of women in their 50s have some degree of hearing loss, along with nearly two-thirds of women in their 60s. A 2008 study also found that the prevalence of hearing loss among younger adults, specifically among those in their 20s and 30s, is increasing. Fortunately, for the vast majority of people with hearing loss, hearing aids can help.
"Hearing loss is extremely common and can be much more disabling than people realize," said Sharon G. Curhan, MD, MSc, Channing Division of Network Medicine, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, who has been conducting research on hearing loss in women for several years. "It can negatively impact overall health, quality of life, productivity, relationships, and social interactions."
"Our research focuses on identifying behavior changes that may help prevent or delay hearing loss," Curhan continued. "Early detection of hearing loss is especially important, both to prevent further progression, and also to benefit from emerging knowledge and technologies that enable individuals to manage hearing loss more effectively than ever before. I urge all women to learn the status of their hearing health and to take steps to protect their hearing."
BHI supports National Women's Health Week, an observance led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women's Health.
10 Reasons Why Hearing Tests Are Essential for Women's Complete Wellness
(1) Women with hearing loss are more likely to be depressed. Research shows that hearing loss is associated with depression among U.S. adults, but particularly among women. (http://ow.ly/vvZEz)
(2) The ear may be a window to the heart. Cardiovascular and hearing health are linked. Some experts say the inner ear is so sensitive to blood flow that it's possible that abnormalities in the cardiovascular system could be noted here earlier than in other less sensitive parts of the body. (http://ow.ly/vw3gH)
(3) If you have diabetes, you're twice as likely to have hearing loss. What's more, having diabetes may cause women to experience a greater degree of hearing loss as they age, especially if the diabetes is not well controlled with medication. (http://ow.ly/vw7so) (http://ow.ly/vw4M2)
(4) Your fitness level and waist size may be affecting your hearing. Research shows that a higher body mass index (BMI) and larger waist circumference in women are each associated with higher risk of hearing loss. It also shows that a higher level of physical activity is associated with lower risk of hearing loss. (http://ow.ly/vw3gH)
(5) Cancer treatments can damage hearing. Certain chemotherapy treatments for cancer may damage healthy cochlear hair cells found in the inner ear and result in hearing loss. (http://ow.ly/vwlEi)
(6) Hearing loss may put you at greater risk of falling or hospitalization. A pair of Johns Hopkins' studies found that people with even just mild hearing loss were nearly three times more likely to have a history of falling, and that hospitalization is more likely for older adults with hearing loss. (http://ow.ly/vwchC) (http://ow.ly/vwbZe)
(7) Addressing hearing loss may benefit long-term cognitive function. Research shows a link between hearing loss and dementia, leading experts to believe that interventions, like hearing aids, could potentially delay or prevent dementia. Research is ongoing. (http://ow.ly/vCFDW) (http://ow.ly/vCG54)
(8) Hearing loss in women is tied to common pain relievers. Ibuprofen and acetaminophen are associated with an increased risk of hearing loss in women. The link is even stronger among those younger than 50. (http://ow.ly/vwIWi)
(9) Addressing hearing loss improves quality of life, earnings, and relationships. Eight out of 10 hearing aid users say they're satisfied with the changes that have occurred in their lives specifically due to their hearing aids -- from how they feel about themselves to the positive changes they see in their relationships, social interactions, and work lives.
(10) Today's state-of-the-art hearing aids are better than ever and virtually invisible. Today's sleek and sophisticated, virtually invisible hearing aids combine high-performance technology and style with durability and ease-of-use, helping women stay socially, physically, and cognitively active. The options are so varied there's an attractive solution for just about anyone.