In the US, approximately 37.5 million adults have some degree of hearing loss. Yet according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), only 20 percent of those who could benefit from hearing aids actually use them. That suggests that millions of Americans who could enhance their life with better hearing choose not to do so.
And that’s not all.
After being told that they will need hearing aids, people wait an average of 5-7 years before actually purchasing them—which is too bad, because for those that do choose to wear hearing aids, the outcomes are overwhelmingly favorable.
Several studies have found that wearing hearing aids improves relationships, improves general physical and mental health, and even increases household income, as discovered by the Better Hearing Institute.
Regretfully, 80 percent of those who could use hearing aids will never witness these advantages. And of those who will, it’s a shame that they have to wait way too long.
The question is: if people are delaying 5-7 years before getting a hearing aid, what is eventually convincing them to do so? And if we understood the reasons, would it encourage us to address our own hearing loss earlier?
With that in mind, we’ve collected the most common “triggers” that have inspired 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 few times.
The thing about high-frequency hearing loss is that the sounds most difficult to hear are frequently higher-pitched. That makes the female voice and the voices of children particularly hard to understand.
As a result, 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 offers a powerful 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 might think everyone else mumbles, but your spouse probably thinks you speak too loud or “selectively listen.” This creates tension, and before you know it, you find yourself in more arguments than normal.
Regretfully, many people wait until their partner is at a breaking point of aggravation before booking 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 interactive can you really be if you can’t fully grasp 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 takes many people down a road of solitude.
It’s this experience of isolation—and missing out on social events—that prompt people to grab the phone and schedule a hearing exam. And there are very few activities that hearing loss doesn’t impact in a negative way.
4. Being unproductive at work
We’ve heard a great number of stories of people that arrive at their breaking point at work. Commonly they’re at an important meeting and can’t hear their associates sitting across the table. They either have to disrupt the meeting to get people to communicate louder or repeat themselves, or otherwise have to stay silent because they can’t follow along.
There’s a reason why using hearing aids is correlated with higher household income in those with hearing loss. If you have better hearing, you’re simply more confident and effective at work.
5. Concern about overall health and well-being
Last but most certainly not least, people are becoming increasingly cognizant of the health hazards associated with hearing loss. While there are several conditions associated with 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 preserve their hearing.
What’s your reason?
The bottom line is that many people wait too long to deal with their hearing loss, despite the fact that the majority of hearing aid users state that their lives have been improved 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 circumstances to achieve the rewards of better hearing sooner rather than later.