In the US, about 37.5 million adults have some degree 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 means that millions of Americans who could enhance their life with better hearing decide not to do so.
And that’s not all.
After being shown that they require hearing aids, people wait on average 5-7 years before even purchasing them—which is unfortunate, because for those that do decide to use hearing aids, the results are overwhelmingly favorable.
Several studies have demonstrated that wearing hearing aids improves relationships, improves general physical and mental health, and even boosts household income, as discovered by the Better Hearing Institute.
Regrettably, 80 percent of those who could use hearing aids will never observe 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 eventually persuading them to do so? And if we knew the reasons, would it prompt us to address our own hearing loss earlier?
With that in mind, we’ve gathered the most common “triggers” that have inspired 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 of times.
The thing about high-frequency hearing loss is that the sounds most challenging to hear are often higher-pitched. That makes the female voice and the voices of children especially 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 start evading the grandparents, and this provides a powerful motivator to arrange a hearing test.
2. Strained relationships
Communication is the foundation of any healthy relationship, which is why hearing loss is so frustrating for both parties.
If you have hearing loss, you might think everybody else mumbles, but your spouse probably thinks you communicate too loud or “selectively listen.” This produces stress, and before you know it, you find yourself in more arguments than normal.
Sadly, many people wait until their spouse is at a breaking point of frustration before booking a hearing test. We’ve seen first hand that lots of trouble could have been prevented if hearing loss were addressed earlier.
3. Feeling left out
How confident and interactive can you really be if you can’t fully grasp what others are saying?
Many individuals with hearing loss lose their self-esteem and sociability when it’s much easier to avoid the situation than it is to struggle to hear and understand what’s being said. This takes many down a road of solitude.
It’s this feeling of isolation—and missing out on social activities—that prompt people to pick up the phone and schedule a hearing test. And there are very few activities that hearing loss doesn’t impact in a harmful way.
4. Being unproductive at work
We’ve heard a great number of stories of people that come to their breaking point on the job. Quite often they’re at a critical meeting and can’t hear their co-workers sitting across the table. They either have to interrupt the meeting to get people to speak 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 correlated with higher household income in those with hearing loss. If you have better hearing, you’re simply more self-confident and efficient at work.
5. Concern about total 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 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 maintain 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 report that their lives have been enhanced with better hearing.
If you wear hearing aids, let us know the reason you made a decision to schedule your first hearing test. Your response may end up helping someone in a similar circumstances to attain the rewards of better hearing sooner rather than later.