Consumer Reports Speaks Up About Hearing Loss

The Consumer Reports’ article “No More Suffering in Silence” is a welcome addition to the hearing-loss community, the staff at lessersoundapp.com believes.  As many of us know, the resources for the average H.I.P* and

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Photo Credit: Wikipedia Commons File: Vintage Beltone Mono-Pac, Model M “Melody” Hearing Aid, Vacuum Tubed Unit, Circa 1950 (8638884782).jpg

H.A.R.P.* are greatly unattainable for most in the U.S. — the number one resource being lack of information.  There just isn’t enough quality information out there.

Wayne Lesser, creator of the lessersound app, knows firsthand that hearing loss isn’t a self-contained problem.  As a young twelve-year-old boy, he watched as his sister was fitted with her first hearing aids: “a large ugly thing, about the size of a deck of cards with wires connecting the ear buds.  She was profoundly hearing impaired.”  At the time, no one thought to check his hearing.  He did the best he could throughout his education at school, struggling to hear, faking it a lot of the time.  (See Wayne’s Story.)  He knows how it can affect family members, loved ones, coworkers, and everyone else who tries to communicate with a H.I.P or H.A.R.P. person.  It contributes to a person’s happiness and well-being to be able to hear well.  Consumer Reports’ writer Julie Calderone has concerns about this as well.  “This widespread problem [hearing loss] is associated with depression, isolation, and possibly, dementia.  We report on affordable solutions and what’s being done to give everyone access to treatment.”

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports, “. . . about 28.8 million U.S. adults could benefit from using hearing aids.”  Consumer Reports surveyed their subscribers to see how the numbers fell.  “Almost half of the 131,686 Consumer Reports subscribers surveyed for our 2015 Annual Fall Questionnaire reported having trouble hearing in noisy environments, yet only 25 percent had their hearing checked in the previous year.  And according to research published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, just 14 percent of those who could benefit from hearing aids actually use them.”  Lesser agrees.  “There is a risk of hearing loss for everyone through exposure to loud sound who is not already hearing impaired.  People don’t understand or appreciate the substantial hazard of exposure to dangerous sound levels in their environment that causes the tiny hair cells in the ears to die.”

Calderone explains why the numbers are so high for people who need their hearing checked and haven’t bothered.  “A common one, according to National Academies of Science (NAS), President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), and others, is that they can’t afford it.  NAS reports that hearing aids cost an average of $4,700 per pair in 2013 and can climb to almost twice that price.”  That’s not taking into consideration the cost of the doctor’s visits or that hearing aids are generally not covered by insurance or Medicare.

A lower-cost alternative to hearing aids is becoming more popular in personal sound amplification products (PSAPs).  These devices can be bought over the counter without a prescription.  The cost range is anywhere from around $18 to $740.  Working similarly to the concept of a Bluetooth device, the unit fits around the ear and amplifies sound.  Unlike hearing aids, they don’t perform well in lowering feedback noise.  Consumer Reports tested four of these units with three volunteers who had mild-to-moderate hearing loss.  “We found that the higher-end PSAPs helped some of our volunteers hear better, especially while watching TV.”  (Get details on the results of our tests at “Are OTC Hearing Helpers Any Good?”)

Avoidance of loud noises is still a strong preventative measure in protecting your hearing.  The question is how loud is too loud?  With the lessersound app at lessersoundapp.com (nominated as one of the top three finalists in the 2016 Appy Awards — medical category) you won’t have to wonder if the TV is too loud or all the chatter at the local restaurant is causing your hearing to fail.  A quick, simple download to your smartphone and you’ll be ready to test the safe-to-dangerous decibels levels and see the exposure time that leads to hearing loss anywhere you go.

*H.I.P. – hearing-impaired person
*H.A.R.P. – hearing at risk person

 

 

 

 

 

Lessersound and the Power of Woof

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Basset Hound, Wikipedia .com 

Did you know that both the bark of a dog and the subway have equal decibel ratings of 101?  Who would have thought a barking dog could harm your hearing?  What about falling asleep in front of the TV with the volume turned up?  Did you ever wonder about traffic, trains, or construction sites?

Wayne Lesser did.  As a child, he watched his little sister get fitted for state-of-the art hearing aids in the mid-1950s.  He claimed it was an ugly and scary thing about the size of a deck of cards with two wires leading to her ears.  It left a strong impression on him.  So did her huge smile — the moment they turned the unit on and she could actually hear the water running from the faucet he was turning on and off was a life-changing event in the family.

 

Dealing with his own hearing loss, growing up, was challenging for him.  He wondered why people couldn’t do more to protect their hearing.  He wondered why no one was doing anything to educate people on how to protect the hearing they had and what the dangers were that everyone lives with every single day.

 

As years passed, still, little happened in society to educate people on how hearing loss occurs. He decided that someone had to start making a change in people’s lives to help them understand the importance of hearing health, and, he might as well be the one to do it.  And, he did — with the lessersound app and the “Color of Sound” technology — making it to one of the top three final nominations for the 2016 Appy Awards for new medical technology. Take a look at his video.

WAFA’s Tina Lindgreen at Seeds&Chips Summit 2016

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There’s more exciting news at WAFA!  Tina Lindgreen is honoured to be invited as keynote guest speaker at the Seeds&Chips-2016 summit (11-14 May) at Milan, Italy, on Saturday, 14 May 2016. The summit will host hundreds of exhibitors and guest speakers from across Europe and the US. The discussions will cover all aspects of food from the time it goes into the ground until it is put on the plate. Some of the topics will include climate change, environmental factors, lack of available resource, growing, processing, distribution, innovative new strategies, and many more ideas and conversations will be presented.

WAFA’s founder Tina Lindgreen along with Paul Vincent, co-founder and CEO of EnSo, and Ayrton Cable, founder and ambassador of WAF Youth Awards, will be introducing the opening of WAFA’s “call for applications” for the . . . (Read More Here)

LET THE CELEBRATION BEGIN!

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Photo Credit: Wikipedia via Flicker, Oxfam East Africa

It’s official!

Today the call for applications is “live” at WAF Awards. We are looking for people doing incredible things to help the less fortunate ones who are struggling in the areas of finding clean water to drink, clean air to breathe, and adequate healthy food to eat.  If you know of anyone who has devoted their lives to these causes, now is the time to speak up.  The nominations are open to anyone who wants to favor the good deeds of people who have practiced positive environmental change for at least two years.  Tell us.  Let us know who these modest heroes are.

Come!  Join us in creating the celebration of the 2016 WAF Awards.

Wayne Lewis Lesser, Wayne’s World, Wayne’s Words

In 1944, I was born to loving parents. I came into a world of what I call “lesser” sound—I was born hearing-impaired. As a kid, I did not know or did not pay attention to my lesser sound. While I did have regular hearing exams, my parents never indicated to me that I might have hearing loss. In truth, my parents were unaware of my hearing loss throughout my childhood.

My kid sister followed in 1945 and was profoundly hearing-impaired. For years, my family was not aware of her hearing loss, or its severity. At that point, my family still did not know about my hearing loss, either. My mom took my sister from doctor to doctor until one said that she was hearing-impaired and needed hearing aids. She was fitted with aids at age 11.

My sister’s hearing aid was ugly and scary. I remember when she put it on for the first time: a one-piece unit, the size of a deck of cards, with two wires connecting the large earbuds into her little ears. My mom turned it on. At that moment, I was fooling around with . . .(Read More Here).

Published in Hearing Health Blog – April 21, 2016