SayWhatClub Online Voices April 2011


Pearl Feder
Copyright 2011

The baby boomers are coming down with something these days. More and more boomers from the psychedelic days of loud music are experiencing a different kind of humming in their heads (and it isn’t the music from their IPods either). They're straining their eyes to see your lips move but no words are jumping out at them (and they haven't smoked those funny little cigarettes lately). Hmmm! Could it be a Republican conspiracy? Could it be their vintage jeans are too tight around the waist causing the blood to the brain to stop functioning? Or could it be........nah, or maybe, oh no! It can't be. All those years of warnings, and now, hearing loss along with the receding hairlines.

Hearing loss is the most serious health issue for baby boomers today. More men than women will be affected. Here are some interesting findings from the AARP, Clarity and The EAR Foundation*:

The worse news is that over 76 million baby boomers in the U.S. alone will experience some degree of hearing loss. Unfortunately, the study focused on baby boomers and the effect of hearing loss on family and income. So what have all these studies accomplished or discovered to help us all have more affordable access to hearing aids?

If one out of every three hearing aids are still landing up in a bedside table never to be worn again, what does this say about the business of audiology or hearing specialist, or is it the person who has hearing loss? Whose fault is it? The audiologist? The patient? The manufacturer? Or is there enough blame for all of us?

Too many tales of poor fittings, poor educational counseling, don't like the feel, I still can’t hear, my ears itch, I don't look good in them, they make me feel old, and on and on and on. There's no doubt about it, first-time hearing aid wearers need to know that patience is the key to buying the proper hearing aids. What I don't understand is why people are not returning the hearing aids within the specified time frame? This would be clear evidence to the manufacturers that something is not right. Instead, by hanging onto to the aids, never to be worn, manufacturers believe what they want, which is, that hearing aids are doing the job and people are willing to pay the price.

Since the baby boomers have come of age, manufacturers have been making hearing aids to attract the hippies. Cool, sleek, sexy, refined and small. I tried one recently with Zen sounds that are said to put your tinnitus to sleep and voices that remind you to put a new battery in. The first time I heard “the voice”, I looked all around thinking someone was speaking to me. The Zen music almost put me to sleep at the wheel of my car. I gave the hearing aid back before the end of the trial period and opted for a simple aid with Bluetooth technology.

The baby boomers are going through a second coming of age and wanting to get satisfaction. Hopefully we will get rebellious like the good ole days and get some satisfaction with better programming and better price tags. Otherwise, we’ll be singing the same old song by the Rolling Stones,.

I can’t get no satisfaction,
I can’t get no satisfaction,
'Cause I try and I try and I try and I try.
I can’t get no, I can’t get no.

*This is the second phase of a widely publicized study conducted in 2004 by The Ear Foundation.

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