In the United States, about 37.5 million adults have some level 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 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 shown that they require hearing aids, people wait an average of 5-7 years before actually purchasing them—which is unfortunate, because for those that do decide to use hearing aids, the results are overwhelmingly favorable.
Many 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.
Regretfully, 80 percent of those who could use hearing aids will never see these advantages. And of those who will, it’s a shame that they have to wait so long.
The question is: if people are delaying 5-7 years before acquiring a hearing aid, what is finally swaying 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 collected the most common “triggers” that have prompted 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 usually 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 otherwise have to make them repeat themselves. After a while, 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 everyone else mumbles, but your partner probably thinks you speak too loudly or “selectively listen.” This creates stress, and before you know it, you find yourself in more arguments than normal.
Sadly, many people wait until their spouse is at a breaking point of aggravation before scheduling a hearing test. We’ve witnessed first hand that a lot of trouble could have been prevented if hearing loss were attended to earlier.
3. Feeling left out
How confident and involved can you really be if you can’t understand what others are saying?
Many people with hearing loss lose their 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 people down a path of seclusion.
It’s this experience 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 influence in a damaging way.
4. Being unproductive at work
We’ve heard plenty of stories of people that arrive at their breaking point at the workplace. Commonly they’re at a critical meeting and can’t hear their colleagues sitting across the table. They either have to interrupt 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 using hearing aids is correlated 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 overall health and well-being
And finally, people are becoming increasingly cognizant of the health risks connected with hearing loss. While there are several conditions linked with diminished hearing, the most alarming 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 most people wait too long to address their hearing loss, even though the majority of hearing aid users state that their lives have been improved with better hearing.
If you use 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 position to attain the benefits of better hearing sooner rather than later.