By Morgan Leppla
Did you know it is estimated that 67 to 86 percent of people who might benefit from hearing aids do not have them? In a much-anticipated National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NAS) report, published on June 2, 2016, NAS addresses the areas of hearing healthcare that currently prevent many of the 48 million Americans with hearing loss from seeking treatment, and provide 12 recommendations for improvement.
The NAS report recognizes that hearing loss detracts from individuals’ participation in family life, school, and work, and can affect anyone, young or old. People deserve the ability to communicate effectively, live healthily, and enjoy a high quality of life.
Specifically, the report recommends “key institutional, technological, and regulatory changes that would enable consumers to find and fully use the appropriate, affordable, high-quality services, technologies, and support they need.”
Currently, hearing healthcare is not focused on the consumer. However, through implementing the report’s recommendations, it would improve:
The quality and affordability of hearing healthcare
Access to accurate information that should be readily available to the public
Increasing the number of options for consumers to choose from, in order to best fit individual needs
Reducing stigma and bettering education
Ending governmental measures that create obstacles to easy access
The NAS report further explains that this is everyone’s responsibility to manage their hearing health: Cross-sector, sustained collaboration is crucial to successful implementation of the report’s blueprint.
"Hearing Health Foundation (HHF) recommends everyone talk to their doctors to identify any hearing loss as well as to find the best hearing loss treatment for them. HHF is dedicated to funding research to cure and treat hearing loss and tinnitus and is proud to play a role in pushing hearing and balance research forward,” says Nadine Dehgan, HHF CEO.
HHF would like to thank the NAS and its expert committee for their hard work in preparing this report, including the committee’s Judy R. Dubno, Ph.D., a member of HHF’s Board of Directors, and Debara L. Tucci, M.D., a member of HHF’s Council of Scientific Trustees.