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Rock Star Pat Benatar Urges Baby Boomers to Tune In to Their Hearing Health

Energizer® EZ Change™ "It's Hip to H.EA.R.™" Program Helps Educate A Generation in Denial About Hearing Loss

Pat Benatar has been making hit music for decades. Now, the rock superstar and Grammy winner has new music and a new message for her peers in the baby boomer generation. Benatar is the national spokesperson for the Energizer EZ Change "It's Hip to H.E.A.R." program, a national cause-related initiative designed to educate baby boomers about the importance of hearing health awareness, prevention and treatment. The program, which kicks-off in May during Better Hearing & Speech month, is being executed in partnership with the non-profit group Hearing Education and Awareness for Rockers (H.E.A.R.) and Energizer EZ Change, the world's first hearing aid battery dispenser.

While 16 million baby boomers suffer from hearing damage, a recent national survey revealed that most boomers are not concerned about hearing loss or seeking treatment. According to the Energizer survey, only one percent of baby boomers rank hearing loss as a health concern and almost half (45%) say they are not at all worried about hearing loss. Nearly three-quarters (73%) say they have never seen a doctor or hearing specialist to get their hearing tested. Despite this lack of concern, the reality is that there are more baby boomers aged 46-64 with hearing loss than there are people over the age of 65 with hearing loss i, and there is 26 percent more hearing loss among baby boomers than in previous generations. ii

Benatar, who has taken steps during her career to prevent hearing loss, wants to raise awareness about the importance of hearing health education, prevention and treatment. "As a rock musician, I know firsthand the risks of hearing loss and how it affects your quality of life," she said. "Many of my friends have suffered permanent hearing damage, and my husband Neil and I both take proactive steps to protect our hearing health. Unfortunately, many of my peers are in denial."

"Baby boomers were the first generation to be raised on rock and roll, and many continue to enjoy high volume lifestyles," said Kathy Peck, executive director and co-founder of H.E.A.R. "We are excited to team up with Pat Benatar and Energizer EZ Change because we share the mission to educate people about the dangers of hearing loss and how to treat it without sacrificing your quality of life. While a wealth of information on hearing loss is available, our goal with the 'Hip to H.E.A.R.' program is to make the message more relevant to baby boomers."

The national education effort includes a free Energizer( EZ Change( It's Hip to H.E.A.R.( Survival Guide that provides information on baby boomer lifestyles, hearing loss detection and treatment options. A key focus of the program is to educate people about new technologies available to help them manage their hearing health.

"Baby boomers want the latest and greatest technology devices to help simplify and improve their lives," said Benatar. "Many are unaware that there are some really innovative products available that can help them protect their hearing and, if they are already dealing with hearing loss, make the process of managing it much easier. These products are also important for the baby boomers who are caring for their parents, many of whom also have hearing loss."

Among the hearing health technologies available is the Energizer EZ Change, the first hearing aid battery dispenser that allows hearing aid users to insert their batteries precisely without having to handle the tiny batteries or tabs. This eliminates the frustration of dropping, fumbling and losing the small batteries and makes it possible to change them quickly any place and any time. For hearing protection, the Bose( QuietComfort( Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones dramatically reduce ambient noise on planes, trains, buses and city streets. And, the "Colors of Clarity" ER-20 High-Fidelity Earplugs, a one-size, low-cost earplug offering the highest fidelity available in a non-custom earplug, reduces sound approximately 20 dB at all frequencies.

The Energizer( EZ Change( It's Hip to H.E.A.R.( program will educate baby boomers and others about the importance of hearing health by distributing information online, in audiologist offices, at retail, in the media and through the H.E.A.R. grass roots network of street teams that travel to concerts and music events around the country and H.E.A.R. Partner audiologist and ear doc who support H.E.A.R.'s efforts through H.E.A.R. Partner hearing referral program. In support of H.E.A.R.'s efforts, Energizer EZ Change will make a $25,000 monetary donation to the non-profit organization.

The increase in the number of baby boomers suffering from hearing impairments is attributed largely to lifestyle factors, including simple everyday noise. Potential hearing damage can occur with exposure to any noise above 85 decibels, especially during frequent or lengthy exposure. This includes city traffic (85 dB) and hairdryers (90dB), which can cause significant hearing damage over time. According to the Energizer survey, most baby boomers (more than 50 percent) were unaware that these activities could cause harm.

"It is possible to enjoy an active lifestyle and protect your hearing," said Ernie Petrus, director of sales and marketing for Energizer Miniature Batteries, U.S. "Although everyday activities such as listening to the car radio and using headphones can cause hearing damage, there are many new technologies available that help lessen the effects of early hearing loss and also minimize the social stigma of wearing hearing aids. Getting your hearing tested at the first sign of hearing problems is crucial because the damaging effects of hearing loss are cumulative and irreversible."

"I want people to know that early testing and diagnosis are key," says Benatar. "As a musician, I learned early in my career the importance of healthy hearing, although many of my friends didn't realize the damage until it was too late. By tuning in to your own hearing health and getting tested, you can lessen or avoid the negative effects of hearing loss and enjoy the sounds of music and everyday life for years to come."

To order the free Energizer( EZ Change( It's Hip to H.E.A.R. Survival Guide) and find out more about the program, visit Energizer EZ Change It's Hip to H.E.A.R. Campaign. For information on testing and treatment click H.E.A.R.

Survey Methodology

A survey of 1,010 baby boomers ages 39-57 was conducted in the month of October 2003 to find out more about the attitudes, beliefs and habits of this age group with and without hearing loss. The 28-question confidential survey was conducted through computer-aided telephone calls through a random sample of the population. For more information on survey results, contact Christine Johnson at 314.552.6747.

i Self Help for Hard of Hearing People, Inc.
ii National Center for Health Statistics

Message from Pat Benatar

 

As the national spokesperson for the Energizer EZ Change It's Hip to H.E.A.R. program, I am helping to raise awareness among baby boomers and others about the importance of hearing health prevention, detection and treatment.

As a rock musician, I know firsthand the risks of hearing loss. Many of my friends have suffered permanent hearing damage and my husband Neil and I take proactive steps to protect our hearing health. I want to encourage others to do the same.

Hearing health is often overlooked or avoided - especially among baby boomers - even though it's crucial to the enjoyment and quality of life. A recent Energizer survey revealed that only one percent of baby boomers rank hearing loss as a health concern, yet statistics show that there are more baby boomers with hearing loss than people over the age of 65.

One of the goals of the Energizer EZ Change It's Hip to H.E.A.R. program is to educate people about new technologies available to help them manage their hearing health. For example, the Energizer EZ Change is the first hearing aid battery dispenser that eliminates the need to handle the tiny hearing aid batteries and tabs. This makes it much easier to wear a hearing aid because you don't have the frustration of dropping or losing the batteries, and you can change them anywhere and anytime.

Other innovative technologies that make it Hip to H.E.A.R. include:

  • Earplugs to prevent hearing damage at concerts or clubs.
  • Noise canceling headphones that dramatically reduce ambient noise from power mowers, drills, and even city traffic.
  • In-the-canal digital hearing aids that make it virtually impossible to tell a person is even wearing the device

To learn more about how to manage your hearing health, people can visit Energizer It's Hip to H.E.A.R. to request a free Energizer EZ Change It's Hip to H.E.A.R. Survival Guide. Information is also being distributed at retail outlets, in audiologists' offices and through H.E.A.R.'s grass roots network of street teams who hand out information at concerts and other music events and H.E.A.R. Partner audiologists and ear doctors. Click here to view the Survival Guide.

 





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