People with chronic kidney disease (CKD) should take the Across America Hearing Check Challenge—a free, quick, and confidential online hearing test at www.hearingcheck.org. The non-profit Better Hearing Institute (BHI) is offering the test as part of its effort to raise awareness of the link between chronic kidney disease and hearing loss. March is National Kidney Month. BHI's online test will help people determine if they need a comprehensive hearing check by a hearing professional.
Research shows that hearing loss is common in people with moderate chronic kidney disease. As published in the American Journal of Kidney Diseases and highlighted on the National Kidney Foundation web site, a team of Australian researchers found that older adults with moderate chronic kidney disease (CKD) have a higher prevalence of hearing loss than those of the same age without CKD.
According to the National Kidney Foundation, an Australian research team assessed more than 2,900 individuals aged 50 and older, including 513 with moderate chronic kidney disease. Of those with CKD, more than 54 percent reported some level of hearing loss compared to only 28 percent of the rest of the group. Nearly 30 percent of the CKD participants showed severe hearing loss compared with only 10 percent of the non-CKD participants.
“Unaddressed hearing loss can have very significant consequences on a person’s life and greatly undermine quality of life,” said Sergei Kochkin, PhD, BHI's executive director. “We need to alert people with chronic kidney disease of their potential for hearing loss as a result of their disease and encourage hearing screenings as part of their routine medical care to help optimize their quality of life.”
According to the National Kidney Foundation, 26 million American adults have CKD and millions of others are at increased risk. But early detection can help prevent the progression of kidney disease to kidney failure.
Referencing the Australian study, Dr. Kerry Willis, Senior Vice President of Scientific Activities at the National Kidney Foundation stated: “These findings could lead to a modification of the usual care of people with CKD. Earlier clinical hearing assessments and fitting of hearing aids in CKD patients can improve quality of life and lead to better management of underlying conditions which could, in turn, potentially preserve hearing function.”
About Hearing Loss
Approximately one in 10 Americans, or 34 million people, have some degree of hearing loss. Yet, fewer than 15 percent of physicians today ask patients if they have any hearing problems.
Numerous studies have linked untreated hearing loss to a wide range of physical and emotional conditions, including impaired memory and ability to learn new tasks, reduced alertness, increased risk to personal safety, irritability, negativism, anger, fatigue, tension, stress, depression, and diminished psychological and overall health.
Fortunately, the vast majority of people with hearing loss can be helped with hearing aids. And nine out of ten hearing aid users report improvements in their quality of life.