In the United States, approximately 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 reap the benefits of hearing aids actually use them. That implies 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 need hearing aids, people wait on average 5-7 years before even purchasing them—which is too bad, because for those that do decide to wear hearing aids, the outcomes are overwhelmingly positive.
Many studies have demonstrated that wearing hearing aids improves relationships, boosts general physical and mental health, and even increases household income, as reported by the Better Hearing Institute.
Unfortunately, 80 percent of those who could use hearing aids will never witness these benefits. And of those who will, it’s a shame that they have to wait such a long time.
The question is: if people are waiting 5-7 years before getting a hearing aid, what is eventually swaying them to do so? And if we knew the reasons, would it prompt us to deal with our own hearing loss earlier?
With that in mind, we’ve gathered the most common “triggers” that have prompted 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 many times higher-pitched. That makes the female voice and the voices of children particularly hard to understand.
Consequently, many people with hearing loss miss out on what their grandchildren are saying, or otherwise have to make them repeat themselves. After a while, the grandkids begin evading the grandparents, and this provides a powerful incentive to book a hearing test.
2. Strained relationships
Communication is the cornerstone of any healthy relationship, which is why hearing loss is so frustrating for both parties.
If you have hearing loss, you may think everyone else mumbles, but your partner probably feels you speak too loudly or “selectively listen.” This produces stress, and before long, you find yourself in more arguments than normal.
Regrettably, many people wait until their partner is at a breaking point of aggravation before booking a hearing test. We’ve witnessed first-hand that loads of trouble could have been prevented if hearing loss were taken care of faster.
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 easier to avoid the scenario than it is to struggle to hear and comprehend what’s being said. This takes many people down a path of isolation.
It’s this feeling of isolation—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 undesirable way.
4. Being unproductive at work
We’ve heard plenty of stories of people that arrive at their breaking point on the job. 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 communicate 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 correlated with higher household income in those with hearing loss. If you have better hearing, you’re simply more confident and efficient at work.
5. Concern about general health and well-being
Last but most certainly not least, people are becoming gradually more cognizant of the health hazards connected with hearing loss. While there are many ailments associated with impaired 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 many 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 arrange your first hearing test. Your response may result in helping someone in a similar circumstances to achieve the rewards of better hearing sooner rather than later.