United Health Foundation Announces Grant to NCOA to Improve Hearing among Seniors
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United Health Foundation Announces Grant to NCOA to Improve Hearing among Seniors

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October 3, 2011

CONTACT:
Ken Schwartz
NCOA Director of Marketing & Communications
202-600-3131
ken.schwartz@ncoa.org

Lauren Mihajlov
UnitedHealth Group
952-936-3068
lauren_mihajlov@uhc.com

$50,000 grant to help raise awareness among seniors about the importance of hearing screenings and point them to resources available for diagnosis and treatment

MINNETONKA, MN – United Health Foundation today announced a $50,000 grant to the National Council on Aging (NCOA) to enhance its ongoing efforts to educate seniors about the importance of detecting hearing deficits. As a result, NCOA will be able to expand its outreach efforts to seniors and aging services organizations, reminding them to work with health care professionals for appropriate screening.

Millions of older Americans experience hearing loss. According to the National Institutes of Health, about one-third of people in the United States between the ages of 65 and 75, and close to one-half of people older than 75, have some degree of hearing loss. Unfortunately, because hearing loss often occurs gradually, millions of affected seniors are unaware of their condition. As a result, they suffer a diminished quality of life, often experiencing social isolation, and worsening of depression and dementia.
 
“One out of every four older Americans has an undetected or untreated hearing loss, and NCOA’s research has shown that most older adults with hearing loss do not realize how much the quality of their lives has been affected,” said Jim Firman, NCOA president and CEO. “As someone with a significant hearing loss, I can personally attest to how the right hearing aids have dramatically improved my ability to work and play, my relationships with family and friends, and my self-esteem. NCOA is pleased to partner with United Health Foundation to increase awareness of new ways for consumers to get screened for hearing loss and to learn about treatment options.”  

NCOA is uniquely able to conduct outreach activities to vulnerable and disadvantaged seniors. Previously, it has initiated effective hearing screening education activities that have urged seniors, and those who serve them, to elevate this important issue higher on their list of priorities. Still, more needs to be done.

“Far too many of us take our hearing for granted, but just imagine what a significant hearing deficit means to a senior who is navigating so many other challenges,” said Reed Tuckson, M.D., board member, United Health Foundation, and executive vice president and chief of medical affairs, UnitedHealth Group. “We at United Health Foundation have great respect for the capabilities of the National Council on Aging and its past record of outreach on this important topic. As such, we are pleased to have this opportunity to assist them, and America’s seniors, with the timely diagnosis of hearing deficits.”

About United Health Foundation  Guided by a passion to help people live healthier lives, United Health Foundation provides helpful information to support decisions that lead to better health outcomes and healthier communities. The Foundation also supports activities that expand access to quality health care services for those in challenging circumstances and partners with others to improve the well???being of communities. Since established by UnitedHealth Group [NYSE: UNH] in 1999 as a not???for???profit, private foundation, the Foundation has committed more than $187 million to improve health and health care. For more information, visit www.unitedhealthfoundation.org.

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About NCOA  The National Council on Aging (NCOA) is the nation’s leading nonprofit service and advocacy organization representing older adults and the community organizations that serve them. Our goal is to improve the health, independence, and economic security of 10 million older adults by 2020. For more than 60 years, NCOA has been a trusted voice and innovative problem-solver helping seniors navigate the challenges of aging in America. We work with local and national partners to give older adults tools and information to stay healthy and secure, and we advocate for programs and policies to improve the lives of all seniors, especially the most vulnerable. For more information, please visit www.ncoa.org.

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