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Minnesota home care workers will get training on detecting hearing …

Home health care workers across Minnesota will receive intensive training starting this month on how to detect and treat hearing loss among senior citizens living at home, state officials announced today.

Acting on new research that highlights the dangers of untreated hearing loss, the state Commission of Deaf, Deafblind and Hard of Hearing Minnesotans is rolling out training in nine areas of the state with an unusually dense concentration of senior citizens.

Dozens of home care workers, including nurses and personal care attendants, will receive the new training by the middle of 2018, officials said. The goal is to get hearing aids, assistive technology and specialized care to hundreds of Minnesotans over age 55 who are suffering from hearing loss but are not receiving adequate treatment.

Recent research at Johns Hopkins University has found that nearly two-thirds of adults over age 70 have some form of hearing loss. However, the average adult waits 15 years to take action to address it.

Left untreated, hearing loss can lead to depression and social isolation and can accelerate cognitive decline, research has shown.

“This is about awakening individuals and health care providers to the huge, huge problem of hearing loss among senior citizens,” said John Wodele, 70, a board member of the state commission and retired marketing executive. “It’s also about getting people help before they become frustrated and decline.”

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