In the US, roughly 37.5 million adults have some amount of hearing loss. Yet according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), only 20 percent of those who could reap the benefits of 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 need hearing aids, people wait an average of 5-7 years before actually purchasing them—which is unfortunate, because for those that do choose to use hearing aids, the outcomes are overwhelmingly favorable.
Several studies have shown that wearing hearing aids improves relationships, improves general physical and mental health, and even increases household income, as discovered by the Better Hearing Institute.
Unfortunately, 80 percent of those who could use hearing aids will never enjoy these advantages. And of those who do, it’s a shame that they have to wait such a long time.
The question is: if people are waiting 5-7 years before acquiring a hearing aid, what is finally convincing them to do so? And if we understood the reasons, would it encourage us to deal with our own hearing loss quicker?
With that in mind, we’ve compiled the most common “triggers” that have prompted our patients to finally arrange 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 of times.
The thing about high-frequency hearing loss is that the sounds most difficult to hear are usually higher-pitched. That makes the female voice and the voices of children especially difficult to understand.
For that reason, many people with hearing loss miss out on what their grandchildren are saying, or alternatively have to make them repeat themselves. Before too long, the grandkids begin avoiding the grandparents, and this provides a powerful incentive to schedule a hearing test.
2. Strained relationships
Communication is the foundation of any healthy relationship, which is the reason hearing loss is so frustrating for both parties.
If you suffer from hearing loss, you may think everyone else mumbles, but your partner probably thinks you communicate too loud or “selectively listen.” This brings about stress, 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 scheduling a hearing test. We’ve seen first hand that a lot of problems could have been averted if hearing loss were resolved earlier.
3. Feeling left out
How confident and involved can you really be if you can’t understand what others are saying?
Many individuals with hearing loss lose their self-confidence and sociability when it’s much easier to avoid the scenario than it is to struggle to hear and understand what’s being said. This takes many people down a path of isolation.
It’s this feeling of isolation—and missing out on social activities—that encourage people to grab the phone and book a hearing test. And there are very few activities that hearing loss doesn’t affect in a harmful way.
4. Being unproductive at work
We’ve heard a great deal of stories of people that reach their breaking point at the job. Frequently they’re at an important meeting and can’t hear their co-workers sitting across the table. They either have to disrupt the meeting to get people to speak louder or repeat themselves, or otherwise have to remain silent because they can’t follow along.
There’s a reason why using hearing aids is linked with higher household income in those with hearing loss. If you have better hearing, you’re simply more confident and productive at work.
5. Concern about overall health and well-being
Last but most certainly not least, people are becoming gradually more aware of the health hazards associated with hearing loss. While there are several ailments tied to impaired 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 most people wait far too long to address their hearing loss, even though the majority of hearing aid users state that their lives have been improved with better hearing.
If you use hearing aids, let us know the reason you made a decision to arrange your initial hearing test. Your response may result in helping someone in a similar situation to achieve the benefits of better hearing sooner rather than later.