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Why hearing health matters

Many people underestimate the impact of hearing loss, thinking of it as just a sensory problem. In reality, hearing health is vital to overall health. Taking care of your hearing can positively impact your cognitive, social-emotional, and physical well-being.


2/3%

people older than age 60 have hearing loss.¹⁰,¹⁵

%

People with hearing loss are getting hearing aids 2 years earlier than in the past¹⁶.

Happy friends discussing at dining table in dinner party

The impact of hearing loss

No matter the degree of hearing loss, it can have an impact on your social, emotional, and overall well-being. It can creep up slowly, gradually affecting your ability to communicate and connect with others. It can also impact your ability to feel safe and secure in your surrounding environment, affecting your social life and participation. Hearing well is key to overall healthy aging:

  • Hearing aid use has been reported to enable better engagement in group activities¹
  • Hearing aids improve audibility and nuture brain health
  • Hearing aid use is also related to increased work and social activity, and for women, higher self-reported physical activity.⁹
 

The three areas of hearing and well-being

Coming to terms with hearing loss can be difficult, but hearing rehabilitation can provide benefits to social-emotional, cognitive, and physical well-being.5

Grandmother and grandson sitting on porch

Social-emotional well-being

Sometimes with hearing loss, you can feel less confident in social situations, and relationships can struggle if you need to depend on others to act as your ears. Fortunately, there are ways to address these challenges—and seeing social benefits by communicating as partners and using hearing technology.6

Cognitive well-being

The ears and the brain are equal partners. Latest research suggests an association between hearing loss and cognition and that treating hearing loss with hearing aids can have a positive effect on healthy aging.2

  • Treating hearing loss in older adults at increased risk for cognitive decline, can slow down loss of memory abilities.3
  • Hearing aid use may maintain cognitive health.4   
  • Hearing better can help you think better.14

Phonak recognizes the importance of fostering social participation and promoting an active lifestyle through their innovative hearing solutions. We also provide hearing care professionals with resources to foster cognitive well-being in hearing care.

Physical well-being

Improved balance, greater environmental awareness7, and higher activity levels8 can be a few of the physical benefits of hearing aid use.

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Find a provider

Ask a hearing care professional about the benefits of hearing aids for your overall health and how you can address your hearing loss to enhance your healthy aging journey. 

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Ending the stigma

Knowing the facts and prevalence of hearing loss can help alleviate the loneliness and isolation that can accompany it.

  • About 1.5 billion people around the world are affected by hearing loss—that's about 16% of the world’s population.¹⁰
  • Around 65% of people with hearing loss experience mild hearing loss, 30% moderate, and 5% severe or profound hearing loss.¹¹ ¹²
  • The majority of people with hearing loss are school age or working age.¹³
 
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Take control of your hearing and well-being

The early signs of hearing loss often go unnoticed – routine hearing checks are vital for healthy aging and quality of life.

Footnotes

* In a study of older adults with hearing loss who were treated with hearing aids, a majority showed stable or even significantly improved cognitive function after just 18 months. More frequent hearing aid use was correlated with greater improvement in executive functioning skills

1. Abrams, H.B., & Kihm, J. (2015). An Introduction to MarkeTrak IX: A New Baseline for the Hearing Aid Market. Hearing Review, 22(6), 16. Retrieved from https://www.hearingreview.com/2015/05/introduction-marketrak-ix-new-baseline-hearing-aid-market/ on March 25, 2021 – update this to the new reference to the Marktrak 10 claim

2. Taljaard, D. S., Olaithe, M., Brennan‐Jones, C. G., Eikelboom, R. H., & Bucks, R. S. (2016). The relationship between hearing impairment and cognitive function: a meta‐analysis in adults. Clinical Otolaryngology, 41(6), 718-729. 

3. Lin, F., et al. (2023, July 17). Hearing intervention versus health education control to reduce cognitive decline in older adults with hearing loss in the USA (ACHIEVE): a multicentre, randomised controlled trial. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(23)01406-X

4. Sarant, J., et al. (2023, July 16-20). Cognitive Function in Older Adults with Hearing Loss: Outcomes for treated vs untreated groups at 3-year follow-up [Conference presentation]. AAIC 2023 Conference, Amsterdam, Netherlands.

5. Vercammen, C., Ferguson, M., Kramer, S.E., Meis, M., Singh, G., Timmer, B., Gagné, J-P., Goy, H., Hickson, L., Holube, I., Launer, S., Lemke, U., Naylor, G., Picou, E., Scherpiet,S., Weinstein, B., & Pelosi, A. (2020). Well-Hearing is Well-Being: A Phonak Position Statement. Hearing Review, 27, 18-22. 

6. Ferguson, M.A., Kitterick, P.T., Chong, L.Y., Edmondson-Jones, M., Barker, F., Hoare, D.J. (2017). Hearing aids for mild to moderate hearing loss in adults. Cochrane Database of System Revue, 9. https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD012023Kamil, R.J. & Lin, F.R. (2015). The Effects of Hearing Impairment in Older Adults on Communication Partners: A Systematic Review. Journal of the American Academy of Audiology, 26/2, 155-182 (28). https://doi.org/10.3766/jaaa.26.2.6

7. Negahban, H., Bavarsad Cheshmeh Ali, M., & Nassadj,G. (2017). Effect of hearing aids on static balance function in elderly with hearing loss. Gait Posture, 58:126-129. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gaitpost.2017.07.112

Rumalla, K., Karim, A.M. & Hullar, T.E (2015). The effect of hearing aids on postural stability. Laryngoscope, 125(3), 720-723. https://doi.org/10.1002/lary.24974   

Vitkovic, J., Le, C., Lee, S.L. & Clark, R.A (2016). The Contribution of Hearing and Hearing Loss to Balance Control. Audiol Neurotol, 21(4),195-202. https://doi.org/10.1159/000445100

8. Dawes, P., Cruickshanks, K. J., Fischer, M. E., Klein, B. E. K., Klein, R., & Nondahl, D. M. (2015). Hearing-aid use and long-term health outcomes: Hearing handicap, mental health, social engagement, cognitive function, physical health, and mortality. Int J Audiol, 54(11), 838–844. https://doi.org/10.3109/14992027.2015.1059503

9. Holman, J. A., Hornsby, B. W. Y. , Bess, F. H., & Naylor, G. (2021). Can listening-related fatigue influence well-being? Examining associations between hearing loss, fatigue, activity levels and well-being, International Journal of Audiology, DOI: 10.1080/14992027.2020.1853261 

10. World Health Organization. (2021). World report on hearing. Geneva: World Health Organization. Retrieved March 8th, 2021. from, https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/world-report-on-hearin

11. Carr, K. (2020). 20Q: Consumer Insights on Hearing Aids, PSAPs, OTC Devices, and More from MarkeTrak 10. Audiology Online. Retrieved March 25, 2021 from https://www.audiologyonline.com/articles/20q-understanding-today-s-consumers-26648

12. Ehima. (2020). Hearing Aids improve Hearing - and a LOT more. Trends derived from the EuroTrak databases 2009 – 2020. Retrieved March 25, 2021 from https://www.ehima.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/EuroTrak-Trends-2009-2020-June-2020.pdf

13. Jorgensen, L., & Novak, M. (2020). Factors Influencing Hearing Aid Adoption. Seminars in hearing, 41(1), 6–20. https://doi.org/10.1055/s-0040-1701242 

14. Blustein, J., Weinstein, B.E., & Chodosh, J. (2023) It is time to change our message about hearing loss and dementia. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society;1‐4.

15. NIH Pub. No. 97-4235, March 2016.

16. MarkeTrak 2022: Navigating the changing landscape of hearing healthcare. Hearing Review, 29(5):12-17