In the United States, about 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 reap the benefits of hearing aids actually use them. That suggests that millions of Americans who could improve their life with better hearing choose not to do so.
And that’s not all.
After being told that they require hearing aids, people wait on average 5-7 years before actually purchasing them—which is too bad, because for those that do choose to use hearing aids, the outcomes are overwhelmingly positive.
Several studies have determined that wearing hearing aids improves relationships, enhances 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 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 delaying 5-7 years before getting a hearing aid, what is finally convincing them to do so? And if we knew the reasons, would it motivate us to deal with our own hearing loss faster?
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 generally higher-pitched. That makes the female voice and the voices of children especially difficult to understand.
Consequently, many people with hearing loss miss out on what their grandchildren are saying, or alternatively have to make them repeat themselves. After a while, the grandkids begin avoiding the grandparents, and this offers a strong incentive to arrange a hearing test.
2. Strained relationships
Communication is the cornerstone of any healthy relationship, which is why hearing loss is so frustrating for both people.
If you suffer from hearing loss, you might think everyone else mumbles, but your partner probably thinks you communicate too loud or “selectively listen.” This brings about tension, and before you know it, you find yourself in more arguments than normal.
Regrettably, many people wait until their partner is at a breaking point of aggravation before arranging a hearing test. We’ve seen first-hand that lots of problems could have been averted if hearing loss were addressed sooner.
3. Feeling left out
How confident and involved can you really be if you can’t fully grasp 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 road of isolation.
It’s this feeling of alienation—and missing out on social events—that prompt people to pick up the phone and schedule a hearing exam. And there are not many activities that hearing loss doesn’t impact in a negative way.
4. Being unproductive at work
We’ve heard a great deal 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 colleagues sitting across the table. They either have to disrupt 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 linked with higher household income in those with hearing loss. If you have better hearing, you’re simply more self-confident and effective at work.
5. Concern about general health and well-being
Last but not least, people are becoming progressively more aware of the health hazards connected with hearing loss. While there are several ailments linked to impaired 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 retain their hearing.
What’s your reason?
The bottom line is that many people wait too long to address their hearing loss, even though the majority of hearing aid users report that their lives have been improved with better hearing.
If you use hearing aids, let us know the reason you made a decision to schedule your initial hearing test. Your response may result in helping someone in a similar situation to attain the rewards of better hearing sooner rather than later.