Monday, December 27, 2010

The Importance of Hearing Loss Pre-assessment

Hearing health professionals and hearing aid manufacturers have been using the common-sense "signs of hearing loss" in their public relations and advertising probably since the beginning of the hearing health industry as a method of educating people to seek treatment for their hearing loss with hearing aids.

This continues to be one of the most critical on-going education activities we can do to help people with untreated hearing loss for the following key reasons:
  • 6 of 10 new hearing aid users purchased their very first hearing aid because they realized their hearing loss was getting worse. (Source: MarkeTrak VIII)
  • 50% of people who admit they have a hearing loss but do not use hearing aids report they chose not to adopt hearing aids because they have never had their hearing checked. (Source: MarkeTrak VII)
  • Offering people FREE hearing tests may be effective in bringing in some people into hearing health professional offices, but for the vast majority of people with untreated hearing loss sitting on the fence, they lack insufficient information to make any step toward entering a hearing health professional's office.
  • It is our belief that hearing loss problem recognition is a critical precursor to hearing loss problem resolution.
To this end utilizing both objective and subjective information across four databases involving nearly 11,000 subjects, Sergei Kochkin, Ph.D. and Ruth Bentler, Ph.D. have shown in the November 2010 Hearing Review that the BHI Quick Hearing Check has high validity, reliability and utility; it is significantly related to nearly all key quality of life issues; and it demonstrates that standard audiological definitions of hearing loss based on dB loss better ear, may in fact need to be re-thought, since consumers tend to rate their subjective hearing loss much higher than what we state in our text books. The research demonstrates this tool can be used for effectively providing consumers with more information about their hearing loss and moving those with hearing loss closer to seeking a hearing solution.

The availability of this instrument represents a major opportunity for the hearing health industry to strategically attack one of the key barriers to hearing aid adoption; consumer's insufficient information about their hearing loss. There are currently two easy-to-use versions of this test—and both can be used for free and without permission from BHI ( One is a paper and-pencil form in which the test-taker simply circles his/her responses and then uses the instructions on the back of the sheet to obtain a hearing score and recommendation for taking action.  HHP may print this form themselves or purchase them from the BHI in tablet form.

A simpler “no brainer” version that automatically scores the test and presents the results with the click of a button can be found online at (also a BHI Web site). It’s our hope that hearing care professionals and the hearing industry will instantly see the huge opportunity this test affords us and use it in all hearing-related promotions

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Consequences of Untreated Hearing Loss

Sergei Kochkin, Ph.D., Executive Director, Better Hearing Institute, Alexandria, VA

Many people are aware that their hearing has deteriorated but are reluctant to seek help. Perhaps they don ’t want to acknowledge the problem, are embarrassed by what they see as a weakness, or believe that they can “ get by ” without using a hearing aid. And, unfortunately, too many wait years, even decades, before getting treatment.

But time and again, research demonstrates the considerable negative social, psychological, cognitive and health effects of untreated hearing loss . . . with far-reaching implications that go well beyond hearing alone. In fact, those who have difficulty hearing can experience such distorted and incomplete communication that it seriously impacts their professional and personal lives, at times leading to isolation and withdrawal.

Studies have linked untreated hearing loss to:
  • Irritability, negativism and anger
  • fatigue, tension, stress and depression
  • avoidance or withdrawal from social situations
  • social rejection and loneliness
  • reduced alertness and increased risk to personal safety
  • impaired memory and ability to learn new tasks
  • reduced job performance and earning power
  • diminished psychological and overall health
Hearing loss is not just an ailment of old age. It can strike at any time and any age, even childhood. For the young, even a mild or moderate hearing loss could bring difficulty learning, developing speech and building the important interpersonal skills necessary to foster self-esteem and succeed in school and life.

If you think you or a loved one suffers from hearing loss, don’t delay another day. Visit a hearing a professional and take the first step toward a world of better hearing.

To receive literature on hearing loss, its treatment and prevention call the Edison Stanford Hearing Center at 801-373-5887 or visit our website at

Monday, December 13, 2010

Hearing Better May Mean Earning More

(NAPS)—People with untreated hearing loss may see their income decrease by as much as $30,000 a year, according to a national survey by the Better Hearing Institute. But hearing aids were shown to reduce the risk of income loss by 90 to 100 percent for those with milder hearing loss, and from 65 to 77 percent for those with severe to moderate hearing loss.

Most of the more than 34 million Americans with hearing loss are either in the workforce or in school. The loss in income for people with untreated hearing problems, due to underemployment, is estimated at $176 billion.

Hearing is critical to effective communication in the workforce. The ability to hear and listen well enables employees to be more productive and understand the work that has been assigned. Poor communication can result in unhappy customers, missed deadlines, poor morale among co-workers and mistakes on the job.

Effective hearing may also be critical to ensure safety on the job.

In the study, those with unaided severe hearing loss had unemployment rates double that of the normal-hearing population, and nearly double that of their aided peers.

“People are losing their hearing earlier and staying in the workforce longer,” says Sergei Kochkin, executive director of the Better Hearing Institute. “In today’s tough job market, hearing your best is essential for career success.”

Hearing aids remain the optimum treatment for the vast majority of people with hearing loss. Yet only 40 percent of Americans with moderate to severe hearing loss, and only 9 percent of those with mild hearing loss, wear them.

Half of all people with untreated hearing loss have never had their hearing professionally checked. To help, the Better Hearing Institute has a five-minute hearing test at You can learn more about hearing loss and how to help it at

Monday, December 6, 2010

People With Diabetes More Likely to Suffer Hearing Loss

(NU) - A new study published by the Annals of Internal Medicine suggests that diabetics are susceptible not only to vision problems, but to hearing problems as well. “For years, physicians who treat people with diabetes have regularly ensured that their patients receive regular vision check-ups,” said Dr. William Luxford, BHI Board member and an Otolaryngologist at the House Ear Clinic in Los Angeles. “This important study underscores the need for physicians now to encourage each of their patients to get their hearing checked as well.”

In the study, National Institutes of Health (NIH) researchers analyzed data from hearing tests administered to 5,140 participants between 1999 and 2004 in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Their findings? Patients with diabetes are more than twice as likely to suffer hearing loss than non-diabetics. More than 40 percent of the patients who participated in the study had some hearing damage.

“People with diabetes should ask their doctors to check their hearing,” said Sergei Kochkin, Ph.D., executive director of the Better Hearing Institute (BHI). “A hearing check can be invaluable in identifying diabetic patients with potential hearing loss, and giving them an opportunity to receive the treatment they need.”

Studies conducted by BHI, a not-for-profit educational organization whose mission is to educate the public about hearing loss treatment and prevention, show that people with untreated hearing loss experience a lower quality of life than people with normal hearing or people who use hearing aids.

The Better Hearing Institute has designed a “Quick Hearing Check” to help people quickly assess whether they have a hearing loss requiring a comprehensive hearing test by a hearing professional. The quick check is available online at