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 reap the benefits of hearing aids actually use them. That implies that millions of Americans who could enhance their life with better hearing choose not to do so.
And that’s not all.
After being shown that they need hearing aids, people wait an average of 5-7 years before even purchasing them—which is too bad, because for those that do choose to wear hearing aids, the outcomes are overwhelmingly favorable.
Many studies have determined that using hearing aids improves relationships, enhances general physical and mental health, and even boosts household income, as reported by the Better Hearing Institute.
Regretfully, 80 percent of those who could use hearing aids will never enjoy these advantages. And of those who will, it’s a shame that they have to wait so long.
The question is: if people are waiting 5-7 years before getting a hearing aid, what is eventually convincing them to do so? And if we understood the reasons, would it prompt 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 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 many times higher-pitched. That makes the female voice and the voices of children especially difficult 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. After a while, the grandkids begin evading the grandparents, and this provides 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 individuals.
If you suffer from hearing loss, you might think everybody else mumbles, but your partner probably thinks you talk too loud or “selectively listen.” This creates stress, and before long, you discover yourself in more arguments than normal.
Regretfully, many people wait until their spouse is at a breaking point of frustration before arranging a hearing test. We’ve witnessed first hand that a lot of trouble could have been averted if hearing loss were dealt with earlier.
3. Feeling left out
How confident and interactive can you really be if you can’t understand what others are saying?
Many individuals with hearing loss lose their self-confidence and sociability when it’s easier to avoid the scenario than it is to struggle to hear and understand what’s being said. This takes many down a path of isolation.
It’s this experience of seclusion—and missing out on social activities—that encourage people to pick up the phone and book a hearing test. And there are not many activities that hearing loss doesn’t affect in a harmful way.
4. Being unproductive at work
We’ve heard an abundance of stories of people that attain their breaking point in the office. Quite often they’re at an important meeting and can’t hear their associates sitting across the table. They either have to interrupt the meeting to get people to communicate 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 linked 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 general health and well-being
Last but most certainly not least, people are becoming progressively aware of the health risks associated with hearing loss. While there are many conditions tied 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 preserve their hearing.
What’s your reason?
The bottom line is that most people wait too long to attend to their hearing loss, despite the fact that the majority of hearing aid users state that their lives have been enhanced with better hearing.
If you use hearing aids, let us know the reason you made a decision to schedule your first hearing test. Your response may result in helping someone in a similar position to achieve the benefits of better hearing sooner rather than later.