The effort will roll out throughout 2011 and bring increased attention to the health, social, economic and emotional impacts of hearing loss through public outreach and new research and tools.
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, hearing loss is one of the most prevalent chronic conditions in the United States. More than nine million Americans over the age of 65, and more than 10 million Americans between the ages of 45 and 64, struggle with hearing loss. While more than 95 percent of hearing loss can be treated, only 20 percent of Americans actually seek treatment options.
"Hearing loss is a very real issue for people who are over 50, and certainly for AARP members," said Elinor Ginzler, AARP health portfolio director. "This new initiative brings together leaders in the field to create resources and tools that will help people better understand hearing loss and hearing loss prevention and evaluate all the treatment options available to them."
AARP is joined in this effort by an advisory group of nationally recognized organizations with significant history and experience in the area of hearing loss awareness, education and outreach. These include:
American Academy of Audiology (AAA)
American Academy of Audiology Foundation (AAAF)
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)
Deafness Research Foundation (DRF)
Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA)
International Hearing Society (IHS)
To kick off its education and outreach efforts, on May 1, AARP is sponsoring Walk4Hearing, produced by the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA). The walk is the largest of its kind and raises awareness to help eradicate the stigma associated with hearing loss. The HLAA Walk4Hearing is held in multiple cities across the country. Since 2006, more than 18,000 walkers have stepped up and helped raise money for programs and services for people with hearing loss and their families. For more information about the walk, visit www.walk4hearing.org.
About AARP - AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with a membership that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to either political campaigns or candidates. We produce AARP The Magazine, the definitive voice for 50+ Americans and the world's largest-circulation magazine with over 35.1 million readers; AARP Bulletin, the go-to news source for AARP's millions of members and Americans 50+; AARP VIVA, the only bilingual U.S. publication dedicated exclusively to the 50+ Hispanic community; and our website, AARP.org. AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
For more information about hearing loss in the over 50 population, visit www.aarp.org/hearingguide