In the United States, about 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 unfortunate, because for those that do decide to wear hearing aids, the results are overwhelmingly positive.
Many studies have demonstrated that using hearing aids enhances relationships, enhances general physical and mental health, and even boosts household income, as reported by the Better Hearing Institute.
Regrettably, 80 percent of those who could use hearing aids will never enjoy 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 getting a hearing aid, what is eventually persuading them to do so? And if we knew the reasons, would it inspire us to address our own hearing loss quicker?
With that in mind, we’ve gathered 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 challenging to hear are frequently higher-pitched. That makes the female voice and the voices of children especially tough 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. Over time, the grandkids begin evading the grandparents, and this offers a powerful incentive to schedule a hearing test.
2. Strained relationships
Communication is the cornerstone of any healthy relationship, which is why hearing loss is so frustrating for both individuals.
If you suffer from hearing loss, you may think everybody else mumbles, but your partner probably thinks you talk too loud or “selectively listen.” This creates stress, and before you know it, you find yourself in more arguments than normal.
Regretfully, many people wait until their spouse is at a breaking point of aggravation before scheduling a hearing test. We’ve witnessed first-hand that lots of trouble could have been prevented if hearing loss were dealt with earlier.
3. Feeling left out
How confident and interactive can you really be if you can’t comprehend 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 comprehend what’s being said. This leads many down a path of isolation.
It’s this experience of alienation—and missing out on social events—that encourage people to grab the phone and book a hearing exam. And there are not many activities that hearing loss doesn’t affect in a damaging way.
4. Being unproductive at work
We’ve heard plenty of stories of people that come to their breaking point in the office. Frequently they’re at a critical meeting and can’t hear their co-workers sitting across the table. They either have to disrupt the meeting to get people to talk 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 associated 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 total health and well-being
And finally, people are becoming progressively more mindful of the health hazards associated with hearing loss. While there are several ailments tied to 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 preserve their hearing.
What’s your reason?
The bottom line is that most people wait far too long to attend to 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 schedule your initial hearing test. Your response may result in helping someone in a similar position to attain the benefits of better hearing sooner rather than later.