SOURCE: Miracle-Ear

May 02, 2011 17:07 ET

Miracle-Ear Strives to Educate the Public on Hearing Loss

May Is Better Speech and Hearing Month

PLYMOUTH, MN--(Marketwire - May 2, 2011) - Each year, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) designates May as Better Hearing and Speech Month in an effort to raise awareness about communications disorders, including hearing loss. Miracle-Ear supports this campaign because they believe that educating the public about the causes and signs of, and treatments for, hearing loss is the key to improving the quality of life for the 31 million Americans who are dealing with a hearing loss today.

"Hearing loss can develop gradually, so people often don't know what they're missing," said Rebecca Younk, audiologist for Miracle-Ear. "That's why we offer a free hearing test to everyone who walks into any of our stores. We know that identifying the problem is the first step in identifying a solution, and returning an individual to a fuller enjoyment of life."

According to the ASHA, some people are born with a hearing loss, while others develop a deficit over time. Hearing loss can result from over-exposure to noise, ear infections, some medications, certain diseases and even a head injury. Miracle-Ear believes that the more the public understands about the possible causes of hearing loss, the more alert individuals will be to signs of hearing loss after an encounter with one of these causative factors.

"Understanding the link between hearing loss and some common conditions and diseases is critical to early detection and treatment," says Younk. "For example, Miracle-Ear's strong alliance with the American Diabetes Association helps both organizations focus attention on the spread of this serious disease and alerts the public on the links between diabetes and hearing loss. This type of education can cause people to seek help sooner."

Miracle-Ear recently took its commitment to public education on hearing loss to the national airwaves by appearing on The Balancing Act on Lifetime Television, a program that seeks to inform and entertain women to help them bring balance to their lives. A Miracle-Ear Hearing Instrument Specialist participated in the program's "Healthy Hearing Awareness" episode to emphasize the importance of getting regular hearing check-ups and to discuss the hearing loss solution options available today.

According to Miracle-Ear, advances in technology are contributing to advances in hearing aid design. Today's devices are smaller and less noticeable than ever before, which encourages adoption by individuals with a hearing loss who might have resisted wearing a bulkier hearing aid. "Even the best hearing loss solution won't work if a person won't use it," says Younk. "That's why getting the message out about cutting-edge developments like Miracle-Ear's Mirage hearing aid, which is 100% invisible when in use, is such an important part of our company's educational focus."

Miracle-Ear provides this simple self-test, developed by the ASHA, to help individuals identify the signs of hearing loss in themselves or a loved one:

1. Do you have a problem hearing over the telephone?
2. Do you have trouble following the conversation when two or more people are talking at the same time?
3. Do people complain that you turn the TV volume up too high?
4. Do you have to strain to understand conversation?
5. Do you have trouble hearing in a noisy background?
6. Do you have dizziness, pain, or ringing in your ears?
7. Do you find yourself asking people to repeat themselves?
8. Do family members or co-workers remark about your missing what has been said?
9. Do you misunderstand what others are saying and respond inappropriately?
10. Do you have trouble understanding the speech of women and children?

A "yes" answer to more than two of these questions is an indication of possible hearing loss. The next step is to arrange for a comprehensive hearing assessment like the Free Hearing Test offered at all Miracle-Ear locations. This assessment will include a complete hearing health history, ear canal inspection, hearing threshold test and speech discrimination test. If the test confirms a hearing loss, a trusted hearing care provider can identify the best device for an individual's needs and lifestyle.

For more information on the latest in hearing aid technology or our Free Hearing Test, please visit http://www.miracle-ear.com.

About Miracle-Ear
A trusted resource for hearing solutions for over 60 years, Miracle-Ear uses state-of-the-art technology to remove the barriers of hearing loss. The Plymouth, Minn.-based company specializes in customizable hearing solutions that feature discreet, comfortable products designed to meet each individual's hearing loss needs. Free hearing tests are available at all of the company's 1,200 franchised locations across the U.S., many of which are in Sears stores. Franchise opportunities are available for those interested in running their own Miracle-Ear business with the support of a nationwide industry leader. For more information, visit www.miracle-ear.com.