You are not alone. 1.5 million children, 1 in 14 Generation Xers, 1 in 6 baby boomers, and 1 in 3 people over 65 suffer from hearing loss. Yet, with more than 36 million Americans suffering from hearing problems, it\u2019s the nation\u2019s most overlooked disability. And more than 27 million Americans fail to treat the problem, despite its links to debilitating diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer\u2019s. For over 27 years, Betty Vosters-Kemp, co-owner of Avalon Hearing Aid Centers, has been helping people who want to hear better. "Hear the best they can\u2026for life!" is the mantra echoing through the halls of Avalon Hearing. "Quality hearing care is about reconnecting you to what matters most in your life," says Vosters-Kemp. The treatment of hearing loss requires recognizing the situation and finding a partner to help rectify it. So whether it\u2019s you suffering from hearing loss, or someone you know, start the journey back to hearing soon as possible. The hardest part is making the decision to get help. Here are a few tips to consider on the way back to a healthy, happy life. Quality hearing care is about reconnecting you to what matters most in your life Educate yourself Hearing loss doesn't improve on its own and has direct effects on your overall health. In fact, if left untreated, the brain actually loses its ability to process sounds it no longer understands. This is called "auditory deprivation," and it's irreversible. Bottom line, according to Vosters-Kemp: "If you don't use it, you lose it." Most Americans wait about five years too long before seeking the help they need. "Coming to terms with a gradual hearing loss takes time. So we take the time you deserve to educate you about your unique hearing loss. Then, we take even more time to learn all we can about you, your lifestyle, and your special hearing requirements. Hearing care involves much more than hearing aids," says Vosters-Kemp. Hearing care involves much more than hearing aids Find the right partner Hearing loss is personal\u2014your care should be personal, too. You should feel like a partner in the decisions being made about your hearing, so being comfortable with your provider is of the utmost importance. "Quality hearing care is about reconnecting you to what matters most in your life,\u201d says Vosters-Kemp. She calls their unique personal approach the "Avalon Difference.\u201d As she says, "Too many hearing care providers focus only on your ears and on selling you hearing aids. They forget to slow down and understand what it means from your perspective to have hearing loss. After all, you are more than a pair of ears." Here are 10 questions you should ask yourself when scouting for the right hearing aid partner. How thorough was my hearing evaluation? Did the provider get to know me (60\u201390 minutes) or just do a quick test (15\u201330 minutes)? Did you feel respected? Did you learn exactly what you\u2019re hearing, what you\u2019re missing, and whether you\u2019re overly sensitive to loud sounds? Were you given at least two or three technology choices based on your hearing loss, lifestyle, and budget? Was the importance of helping both ears discussed? Do any promises sound too good to be true? Did you discuss realistic expectations for your fitting, including measuring your ability to understand speech in noise? Were your rights as a consumer reviewed? (For example, did you know that California has a 45-day return privilege?) Did you learn about the importance of follow-up care? And, of course, did you feel comfortable? It's all about family Hearing loss affects everyone, especially the people closest to you, so having a supportive family is paramount to the process. Your family must be educated about your hearing loss so that they too can have realistic expectations. Vosters-Kemp recommends having your spouse or other close family member accompany you to the initial hearing test and the instrument fitting. Learning from the experts by attending a \u201cLiving Happily Ever After With Hearing Loss\u201d class with your family is also highly recommended. The more the family knows, the easier it is for everyone to live together successfully with hearing loss. Too many hearing care providers focus only on your ears and on selling you hearing aids. They forget to slow down and understand what it means from your perspective to have hearing loss. After all, you are more than a pair of ears To start hearing the best you can for life, find out more at Avalon Hearing Aid Centers. It offers a free hearing test to establish the severity of hearing loss, and is currently offering a $500 discount on all hearing aids. It accepts all types of insurance and offers 600 types of hearing aids. Only 5 million Americans have found hearing instruments that make them happy; count yourself among them by calling Avalon Hearing Aid Centers today at 888-490-0056.