That’s the question New York Times health columnist Jane Brody asks this week.
She points out that two-thirds of Americans aged 70 and older “have clinically relevant hearing loss,” according to the Johns Hopkins Cochlear Center for Hearing and Public Health, and reminds us that unaddressed hearing loss can increase the risk of cognitive decline, dementia, falls, cardiovascular disease, social isolation, depression and anxiety.
80 percent of the adults who could benefit from a hearing aid currently do not wear one – whether the reason is cost, access to hearing test or the stigma of wearing a hearing aid – there should be greater access to acceptable hearing aids.
Help is on the way, Brody promises. For those who are concerned about appearances, she says, a new generation of over-the-counter hearing aids may look just like the airpods everyone is wearing these days. And as we’ve pointed out in recent weeks, there’s a possibility that Medicare may begin to cover the cost of hearing aids.