As a 44-year-old husband, father and head pastor of the First Church
of the Nazarene in Rochester, Mich., Crum's life was slowly falling
silent. When he realized he couldn't fully participate in
conversations with his family and congregation members, he began to
wonder what else he could be missing.
"More than 48 million Americans suffer from hearing loss, and many
of those individuals are oblivious to the small details of life
they're missing out on," says Dr. Angela Flores, director of
Education and Training at Siemens Hearing Instruments, Inc.
"Unaddressed hearing loss can lead to social isolation, increased
anger and depression. A recent study from the U.S. National
Institute on Aging shows adults who experience hearing loss may even
face a greater risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease."
With the baby boomer generation reaching its greatest numbers at 77
million, our nation's state of health is of great concern. The
number of Americans struggling with hearing loss increases by the
Hearing aids from a generation ago carry the stigmas of being
clunky, uncomfortable and ineffective. And many image-conscious
Americans ignore their hearing loss because acknowledging it brings
negative attention and a perceived weakness.
But hearing aid manufacturers have made significant strides in
enhancing the natural performance, look and size of the latest
hearing aids. Even added benefits, such as Bluetooth-enabled
accessories and waterproof features, further enhance your lifestyle.
Current sophisticated technology enables wearers to distinguish
voices from noise and block out background sounds in crowded areas.
"Many boomers do not realize the advancements hearing aids have
made," Flores says. "Today's devices are smaller, stronger and offer
much more of a pleasant listening experience than in years past."
For Pastor Crum, every day is filled with interactions with people,
whether he's counseling members of his congregation, conversing with
passengers as he drives the youth-ministry van or visiting someone
But making those connections became difficult once Crum's hearing
began to decline.
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The cause of Crum's hearing loss? Genetics mixed with a life of
heavy noise exposure. He spent 12 years working in an automobile
factory and has been a hunter all of his life -- a costly
"I struggled for years to hear the details of life -- among my
family, my grandchildren, members of my congregation and out within
nature," Crum says. "Conversations with my granddaughters were often
difficult, not to mention conversing with my parishioners in a
Success came when Crum was fitted with a behind-the-ear (BTE)
hearing aid from Siemens -- the Motion 701.
With Siemens BestSound Technology, Crum now enjoys the clarity he
needs in communicating with his congregation and family in a variety
of settings, as well as the detail he needs while hunting. A
handheld remote streamer, the Siemens Tek, even offers Crum
Bluetooth wireless connectivity to his television and mobile phone.
"Today's boomers are far more active and technologically advanced
than the previous generation, and many of them look to technology to
both enhance their lives and solve their challenges," Flores says.
"It's amazing to see wearers enjoy sound with their hearing aids
while swimming, biking and living a fulfilling everyday life. But
even still, many boomers experiencing hearing loss wait an average
of seven years before getting their hearing tested."
Prevention is by far the best option. Flores suggests turning the
volume down on your television and mobile phones, wearing ear
protection while mowing the lawn and in other loud environments, and
having your hearing tested regularly starting at the age of 50.
For those already experiencing hearing loss, go see a hearing care
professional near you to receive a pain-free audiogram and discuss
your hearing aid options. According to Flores, early treatment can
prevent greater loss down the road, not to mention better your life
sooner rather than later.
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