The Better Hearing Institute (BHI) is urging women of all ages to talk hearing health with their doctors—a topic often overlooked in the discussion on women’s health. Studies link unaddressed hearing loss to other serious health issues, including depression, dementia, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, moderate chronic kidney disease, rheumatoid arthritis,sleep apnea, and an increased risk of falls and hospitalization. Research also shows that when people address hearing loss, it often has a positive impact on their quality of life.

During National Women’s Health Week, BHI invites people to take a free, confidential online hearing check at to determine if they need a comprehensive hearing test by a hearing healthcare professional. The BHI Hearing Check prompts people through a series of questions in just a few quick minutes.

Hearing loss affects women of all ages. About 1 in 13 women in their 40s say they already have hearing difficulty, according to BHI research, along with 1 in 10 women in their 50s, and 1 in 8 in their 60s. The numbers rise sharply from there, but across all age groups, about 1 in 11 women (18 and older) have hearing loss, BHI research indicates.

The good news is that when women address hearing loss, they tend to see improvements in their quality of life.

In fact, most women who wear hearing aids say it’s true. They see a notable improvement in their overall quality of life, their overall ability to communicate and participate in group activities, and they’re especially likely to see improvements show up at work—specifically, in their work performance and relationships.

What’s more, most women who buy hearing aids say they’d recommend them to a family member or friend with hearing problems. That includes women who buy them in middle age (40-59). At least 90 percent of women in this age group say they would recommend them. Women of all ages even say they’re happy with the look of their hearing aids—at least 8 out of 10 female hearing aid users surveyed said so.

The reality is, most people tend to address hearing loss in stages. They may notice they’re having difficulty hearing but not do anything about it, or they may start down the road to find information about hearing loss and treatment options.

It’s important for women to know about the tremendous advances in hearing aid technology in recent years. Given that there is so much emerging research on the connection between hearing loss and other significant health issues, it makes sense for people to talk with their doctors about hearing loss sooner rather than later.

Women have so much to gain by addressing their hearing loss early.

And so do the people in their lives. Not only do 94 percent of women make healthcare decisions for themselves, but 59 percent of all women—whether or not they’re married or have children—make healthcare decisions for others as well, research from the Center for Talent Innovation shows.

Given the wide circle of influence that women have, when a woman takes hearing health and hearing loss seriously, it has the potential to benefit many others too.

During National Women’s Health Week, BHI is urging all women to talk hearing health with their doctors.

National Women’s Health Week is an observance led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health. This year’s National Women’s Health Week kicks off on Mother’s Day, May 14, and runs through May 20, 2017.