Hearing loss among those who require the assistance of a caregiver is causing serious problems that impact both sides of the caregiver equation, according to a survey released by Songbird Hearing, Inc. More than 44 million Americans now serve as caregivers for a friend, neighbor or family member1 and join professional caregivers in reporting concerns about problems caused by their patient’s or loved one’s inability to hear well. In fact, eight of ten caregivers expressed concern about hearing loss in the person for whom they care, and 86 percent of that group feels that a person’s inability to hear clearly can affect the care they receive on a daily basis, according to the nationwide survey of professional and family caregivers conducted by Songbird Hearing.
The National Caregivers Survey also found that one of four professional caregivers believes that a patient’s hearing loss may have led to medical misunderstandings and mistakes. Currently, more than 21 percent of the country’s population find themselves in the position of caregiver for a loved one—in addition to those employed as professional caregivers. With U.S. Census Bureau statistics indicating that the number of Americans aged 65 or older will double by the year 2030, to more than 70 million, the number of caregivers will also continue to increase. These caregivers often find themselves dealing with an overwhelming amount of responsibility, and the National Caregivers Survey revealed that dealing with hearing loss adds to the stress. Survey respondents who take the person they care for to the doctor or pharmacy do so an average of four to five times per week and three to four times per month respectively. According to caregivers of those who wear hearing aids, on average, batteries are replaced about once per week; maintenance is performed four times a year; and the hearing aid is replaced about once a year. Additionally, among hearing aid wearers cared for by those surveyed, more than half have lost or damaged a hearing aid—which can cost thousands of dollars.
The surveyed also confirmed that it is often the caregiver who first notices a person’s hearing problem, citing signs such as needing people to repeat themselves, turning up the volume on the TV or radio, responding inappropriately to questions and avoiding social situations. Despite these signs, and related conversations with the caregivers Songbird Hearing surveyed, 72 percent of those showing signs of hearing loss are not addressing the problem. Reasons these people chose not to wear a hearing aid included cost, discomfort, inconvenience and vanity.
With more than 55 million Americans suffering from hearing loss but only one in five currently seeking a solution, Songbird Hearing is attempting to make hearing aids more accessible to those who have previously avoided dealing with the problem due to concerns about cost or inconvenience. The company manufactures disposable, digital hearing aids that can be affordably purchased online—either by hearing loss sufferers or those caring for them.
Based in North Brunswick, New Jersey, Songbird’s hearing aid technology was invented in Princeton, New Jersey, by the Sarnoff Corporation (formerly RCA Labs), the same technology lab that has created some of the world’s leading consumer technology innovations, such as HDTV and Digital Satellite TV. Songbird Hearing’s mission is to improve the lives of people suffering from mild to moderate hearing loss and the people that care for them by offering them a unique solution that is affordable and convenient.