In the United States, roughly 37.5 million adults have some level 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 implies that millions of Americans who could enhance their life with better hearing decide not to do so.
And that’s not all.
After being told that they require hearing aids, people wait an average of 5-7 years before even purchasing them—which is unfortunate, because for those that do choose to use hearing aids, the outcomes are overwhelmingly favorable.
Many studies have demonstrated that using hearing aids enhances relationships, boosts general physical and mental health, and even increases household income, as discovered by the Better Hearing Institute.
Regrettably, 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 holding out 5-7 years before getting a hearing aid, what is eventually persuading them to do so? And if we understood the reasons, would it inspire us to deal with our own hearing loss earlier?
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 couple times.
The thing about high-frequency hearing loss is that the sounds most difficult to hear are often higher-pitched. That makes the female voice and the voices of children especially tough to understand.
Consequently, many people with hearing loss miss out on what their grandchildren are saying, or otherwise have to make them repeat themselves. Over time, the grandkids start avoiding the grandparents, and this provides a strong incentive to book 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 individuals.
If you suffer from hearing loss, you may think everybody else mumbles, but your partner probably thinks you communicate too loud or “selectively listen.” This brings about tension, and before you know it, you discover yourself in more arguments than normal.
Regretfully, many people wait until their spouse is at a breaking point of frustration before scheduling a hearing test. We’ve witnessed first hand that a lot of trouble could have been avoided if hearing loss were taken care of earlier.
3. Feeling left out
How confident and involved 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 easier to avoid the situation 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 isolation—and missing out on social activities—that encourage people to grab the phone and schedule a hearing exam. And there are very few activities that hearing loss doesn’t affect in a unfavorable way.
4. Being unproductive at work
We’ve heard a myriad of stories of people that come to their breaking point at 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 speak louder or repeat themselves, or otherwise have to remain silent because they can’t follow along.
There’s a reason why wearing hearing aids is associated 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 general health and well-being
Last but most certainly not least, people are becoming progressively more conscious of the health risks associated with hearing loss. While there are several ailments linked to diminished hearing, the most worrying connection 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 sustain their hearing.
What’s your reason?
The bottom line is that many people wait far too long to deal with 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 result in helping someone in a similar circumstances to achieve the rewards of better hearing sooner rather than later.