Dear Mr. Dad: I’m concerned about my mom. She’s in her mid 60s and her hearing has been getting worse and worse. She doesn’t participate in family discussions as much as she used to and she isn’t nearly as engaged with my children. I’ve suggested getting hearing aids but she refuses to–she says they’ll make her look old. Is there anything we can do?
A: Overall, about 11 percent of the U.S population has some hearing loss. And your mother is among the 28 million Americans over 50 who suffer from it. Unfortunately, more than half of these people have never had their hearing tested and five out of every six who could benefit from treatment—including your mother—don’t get it. Doctors usually don’t ask about hearing in routine physicals and the average hearing impaired person waits 5-10 years before finally going in to see an audiologist.