Empowerment Through Hearing (ETH) is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization that serves to increase awareness of the alarming rise of hearing loss in the U.S.
Over 35 million Americans have a significant hearing loss. Yet, 80% of those diagnosed do not seek help. This is due in part to denial, embarrassment or lack of awareness. We dont know what we dont hear.
Kathlyn Maguire founded ETH in 2004 after decades of experiencing a progressive hearing loss.
"My hearing loss was very gradual over the years," Kathlyn says. "I could stay in denial because I heard the sounds of people talking; but, in time, it became increasingly difficult to comprehend the words. The phone was my biggest challenge."
"Nerve loss begins with an inability to hear high-pitched sounds, like t, p, c, d, without actually watching the mouth," she continues, "so I acquired excellent lip-reading skills before I knew I needed them.
Until now, hearing loss has been perceived as an old-age disability. Today, 1 in 5 students has some form of hearing loss, due principally to excessive noise provided by modern technology and to our naïveté regarding its use. Noise induced hearing loss (NIHL) is epidemic in 21st century America. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD).
At ETH, our mission is to position hearing loss as the common and preventable condition it has proved to be. We believe its possible to educate young people and people of all ages to be smart about sound. And to be aware of other causes of hearing loss: aspirin, certain medicines, pain relievers, quinine, anti-immune diseases, a simple blow to the head, and genetics.
Awareness of these causes does much to help people adopt preventive measures against hearing loss. "Turn it to the left;" reduce exposure to loud noise; use noise-reduction ear plugs found at local drug stores; and check with a doctor about the toxicity of prescribed drugs or log onto the web for a list of ototoxic medicines. Youll be surprised at how many names will have a familiar ring.
Our hearing is precious, and, just like eyesight, it deserves all we can do to keep it healthy.
For more information, we hope you will visit our other pages on this site, as well as the links weve provided to important hearing health organizations throughout the U.S.