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November 7, 2003

Major Developments to Improve Hearing Health

From: Newswise (press release) - Nov 7, 2003

Two major developments in treating hearing health disorders were reported as the nation recognized Hearing Aid Awareness Week.

At the annual convention of the International Hearing Society (IHS) in St. Paul, Minnesota, the “Hearing Aid Capital of the World,” hearing health practitioners passed a resolution introduced by Gregory Wales, BC-HIS, president of IHS’s affiliate chapter in Minnesota, to encourage physicians to more routinely screen for potential hearing problems in their patients.

This is part of a progressive campaign to help reach those individuals who could benefit from amplification. It is estimated that only about one-fifth of the 28 million Americans suffering from hearing loss have sought professional help. The IHS resolution, according to Wales, is designed to complement an initiative by the Better Hearing Institute to team physicians and hearing health specialists in a patient referral program. “With more than 22 million Americans so far untreated, routine hearing screenings is a good first step,” said Wales.

A recent study conducted jointly by the National Council on the Aging and the Veterans Administration concluded that quality of life for the hearing impaired and their families is dramatically improved with proper treatment through hearing amplification devices. These results are of particular importance as baby boomers, a group highly concerned with quality of life issues, becomes the largest population of hearing instrument candidates.

IHS members are urging family practice physicians to take a more proactive role in identifying hearing loss in their patients and referring their hearing impaired patients to a hearing health professional when appropriate.

This is of special significance in light of a recent announcement in the treatment of tinnitus, a debilitating condition commonly referred to as “ringing in the ears.” With new treatment options available, family practice physicians will play an even more important role in identifying the symptoms and referring patients to the appropriate caregiver.

Hearing Aid Awareness Week was established by IHS to educate consumers on the technological advancements in hearing instrument technology. “Help is available for virtually everyone with a hearing loss,” said IHS Executive Director Robin Clowers, BC-HIS. “The majority of hearing impaired persons cannot be helped medically or surgically. For most, hearing aids are the answer.”

IHS sponsors a toll-free consumer Helpline. For more information on hearing loss or tinnitus, call 1.800.5215247 or visit the IHS Website at

IHS is the professional association that represents Hearing Instrument Specialists® in the United States, Canada and globally. These allied hearing health professionals test human hearing, select, fit and dispense hearing instruments and provide counsel to the hearing impaired. The Society provides competency review, continuing education, marketing support and regulatory representation to its more than 3,000 members. Founded in 1951, IHS is based in Livonia, Michigan.

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