Some type of difficulty in hearing, vision, cognition, movement, self-care or independent living was reported by 38% of older persons in 2008. Whether it be a wheelchair, walker or hearing aid, having the right equipment is essential for maintaining a positive quality of life.
According to a recent report from the Better Hearing Institute, 34.25 million Americans experience some degree of hearing loss, but only 25% treat hearing loss by purchasing hearing aids.
The FDA has published a consumers' guide to help buyers choose the right type of hearing aid and clarify the difference between hearing aids and sound amplification products.
Here are some tips from the guide:
* Start with an initial check-up by a physician. An exam may find that hearing loss can be treated with medication or surgery--no hearing aid required.
* Purchase a pair of hearing aids from a professional, typically an audiologist, physician or a licensed hearing aid dispenser.
* Ensure you understand the total cost of the hearing aids and what is included in the cost (warranty, batteries, cleaning, follow-up tests, etc.).
* Ask how long the warranty is. If you're spending a few thousand dollars on a pair of hearing aids, you want protection.
* Become an educated consumer. There's a wealth of good information available about hearing loss and hearing-loss solutions.
For more information, visit www.healthyhearing.com or www.fda.gov. Search hearing aids or click on the medical devices tab.