Your physician and hearing email@example.com
Hearing loss is a disability which as of a 2004 MarkeTrak survey, affects around 10 percent of the US population making it as prevalent as many more “well known” disabilities that doctors look for and treat on a daily basis. Hearing loss simply is something that the overwhelming majority of well intending physicians do not screen for. Only about 13 % of physicians routinely screen for hearing loss during a physical.
Disclaimer: This post is not intended to disrespect or downplay the importance of physicians who in today’s day and age have many responsibilities and a great number of patients to see per day.
The fact of the matter is that hearing loss is largely undiagnosed by physicians, who generally had very little training in the areas of hearing loss and hearing aids. Most of the time, a visit to the physician involves a one on one conversation in a quiet room where almost everyone, including people with difficulty hearing, can hear without much of a problem. We have had first time visitors to our office tell us “Well, my doctor never said I needed hearing aids”. Now, you know why!
Even when a hearing loss is known to the physician, mis-information is given to the patient. Many instances have occurred where someone in our office will be given information such as “You only need one hearing aid” or “you cannot wear a hearing aid on your left/right ear”, the list goes on. For many years we have experienced situations such as this where the information given simply is not true and can cause someone who otherwise would seek help, to give up.
With the recent studies that have been released showing an accelerated decline in brain function among older adults with hearing loss (among many, many other effects of hearing loss), we need to do all that we can to educate people and diagnose treatable deficiencies. Obviously not everyone can be an expert on hearing loss and hearing aids, which is the job of the hearing health care professional.