(Rockville, Md. – November 17, 2021) As many extended families prepare to gather for their first Thanksgiving dinner since the pandemic began, experts at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) are offering advice on how to help loved ones who are hard of hearing more fully participate in these celebrations.
More than 48 million Americans have hearing loss. A recent national poll from ASHA and YouGov found that almost half of American adults (46%) say they have a close family member or other loved one who has difficulty hearing. And although untreated hearing loss is associated with poorer quality of life as well as an increased risk of cognitive decline and dementia, depression, falls, and a host of other serious conditions, many adults do not seek treatment for years, even decades—if ever.
“While this will no doubt be a joyous time for relatives to reconnect after missing many holidays together due to COVID-19, some may notice a loved one is having more difficulty understanding others or following the conversation—or perhaps seeming more withdrawn than the last time they were together,” said A. Lynn Williams, PhD, CCC-SLP, 2021 ASHA President. “These are tell-tale signs of hearing loss. Families can help these loved ones better enjoy important celebrations—and can be an integral voice in encouraging them to seek help for their hearing loss.”
ASHA advises that families do the following to help family members with hearing difficulties:
Act Now on Hearing
As a first step, family members and friends can visit www.ActNowonHearing.com. There they’ll find information about the signs of hearing loss, treatment options, and how certified audiologists can help.
About the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)
ASHA is the national professional, scientific, and credentialing association for 218,000 members and affiliates who are audiologists; speech-language pathologists; speech, language, and hearing scientists; audiology and speech-language pathology support personnel; and students. Audiologists specialize in preventing and assessing hearing and balance disorders as well as providing audiologic treatment, including hearing aids. Speech-language pathologists identify, assess, and treat speech and language problems, including swallowing disorders. https://www.asha.org/
Francine Pierson, ASHA, [email protected] and 301-296-8715