Protect your hearing this Better Hearing Month
Responding to efforts from the Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and the Hearing Loss Association of America-Washington, Governor Jay Inslee proclaimed May 2023 to be Better Hearing Month in Washington state. This proclamation is a reminder that we all can take steps to get our hearing checked, treat our hearing loss and support others who experience hearing loss.
One in five Americans — including more than 1.2 million Washingtonians — experience hearing loss. Hearing loss can impact anyone. In fact, two-thirds of the people who experience hearing loss are under the age of 65. Untreated hearing loss can have significant negative impacts — but there are also options for treatment.
Untreated hearing loss can lead to communication challenges, isolation, depression, loss of functionality in the workplace, reduced earnings, increased falls and possible progression to dementia. Adults with untreated hearing loss also have more accidental injuries and are at three times greater risk of falling.
Treating hearing loss can improve emotional and physical health. Annual screenings are pain-free and easy. For more information on how you can get your hearing checked visit: https://www.hearwellstayvital.org/hearing-test/
Hearing loss is widespread and impacts countless people directly or because they have friends, family members or coworkers with hearing loss. Businesses and organizations in Washington state can support those with hearing loss in many ways. Some of those ways include:
- Using microphones and assistive listening systems — like hearing loops — at public meetings and events.
- Providing Communication Access Realtime Translation captioning services and sign language interpreters for public meetings and events.
- Providing public-facing employees with transparent-panel facemasks.
- Making communication access a standard practice in all meetings and appointments, including telehealth visits.
- Ensuring that entertainment, civic and sports venues have hearing access accommodations and informative signage available.
You can find more information on hearing loss, its impacts and how to get your hearing tested at Hear Well. Stay Vital. For hearing loss resources and information in Washington state, visit the Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. For information on hearing loops, visit Let’s Loop Seattle.