In the US, about 37.5 million adults have some amount of hearing loss. Yet according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), merely 20 percent of those who could benefit from hearing aids actually use them. That suggests that millions of Americans who could improve their life with better hearing decide not to do so.
And that’s not all.
After being shown that they will need hearing aids, people wait an average of 5-7 years before actually purchasing them—which is unfortunate, because for those that do decide to wear hearing aids, the results are overwhelmingly favorable.
Many studies have shown that wearing hearing aids improves relationships, improves general physical and mental health, and even increases household income, as reported by the Better Hearing Institute.
Unfortunately, 80 percent of those who could use hearing aids will never see these benefits. And of those who do, it’s a shame that they have to wait so long.
The question is: if people are delaying 5-7 years before acquiring a hearing aid, what is finally swaying them to do so? And if we knew the reasons, would it inspire us to address our own hearing loss faster?
With that in mind, we’ve collected the most common “triggers” that have prompted our patients to finally schedule a hearing test.
Here are the top five:
1. Not being able to hear the grandkids
Here’s one we’ve heard more than a couple times.
The thing about high-frequency hearing loss is that the sounds most difficult to hear are generally higher-pitched. That makes the female voice and the voices of children especially hard to understand.
Consequently, many people with hearing loss miss out on what their grandchildren are saying, or alternatively have to make them repeat themselves. Over time, the grandkids start avoiding the grandparents, and this provides a strong incentive to arrange a hearing test.
2. Strained relationships
Communication is the cornerstone of any healthy relationship, which is the reason hearing loss is so frustrating for both people.
If you suffer from hearing loss, you may think everybody else mumbles, but your partner probably feels you communicate too loud or “selectively listen.” This produces tension, and before long, you find yourself in more arguments than normal.
Unfortunately, many people wait until their partner is at a breaking point of aggravation before arranging a hearing test. We’ve seen first-hand that loads of problems could have been prevented if hearing loss were addressed faster.
3. Feeling left out
How confident and involved can you really be if you can’t comprehend what others are saying?
Many people with hearing loss lose their confidence and sociability when it’s easier to avoid the scenario than it is to struggle to hear and comprehend what’s being said. This leads many people down a path of solitude.
It’s this feeling of isolation—and missing out on social events—that encourage people to pick up the phone and schedule a hearing exam. And there are very few activities that hearing loss doesn’t influence in a harmful way.
4. Being unproductive at work
We’ve heard a myriad of stories of people that arrive at their breaking point in the office. Quite often they’re at an important meeting and can’t hear their colleagues sitting across the table. They either have to interrupt the meeting to get people to talk louder or repeat themselves, or otherwise have to stay silent because they can’t follow along.
There’s a reason why wearing hearing aids is linked with higher household income in those with hearing loss. If you have better hearing, you’re simply more confident and efficient at work.
5. Concern about general health and well-being
Last but not least, people are becoming progressively more mindful of the health risks connected with hearing loss. While there are many conditions associated with diminished hearing, the most worrying relationship is that between hearing loss and dementia. According to Johns Hopkins University researchers, seniors with hearing loss are significantly more likely to develop dementia over time than those who retain their hearing.
What’s your reason?
The bottom line is that many people wait too long to address their hearing loss, even though the majority of hearing aid users state that their lives have been enhanced with better hearing.
If you wear hearing aids, let us know the reason you decided to arrange your initial hearing test. Your response may end up helping someone in a similar position to achieve the rewards of better hearing sooner rather than later.