In the US, approximately 37.5 million adults have some amount of hearing loss. Yet according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), merely 20 percent of those who could benefit from 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 shown that they need hearing aids, people wait on average 5-7 years before even purchasing them—which is unfortunate, because for those that do decide to use hearing aids, the results are overwhelmingly positive.
Several studies have found that using hearing aids improves relationships, improves 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 witness these advantages. And of those who do, it’s a shame that they have to wait so long.
The question is: if people are holding out 5-7 years before getting a hearing aid, what is eventually convincing them to do so? And if we understood the reasons, would it encourage us to address our own hearing loss quicker?
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 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 tough to understand.
As a result, many people with hearing loss miss out on what their grandchildren are saying, or otherwise have to make them repeat themselves. Before too long, the grandkids start evading the grandparents, and this provides a powerful motivator to schedule a hearing test.
2. Strained relationships
Communication is the foundation of any healthy relationship, which is the reason hearing loss is so frustrating for both people.
If you suffer from hearing loss, you might think everybody else mumbles, but your spouse probably thinks you speak too loud or “selectively listen.” This brings about stress, and before you know it, you discover yourself in more arguments than normal.
Regrettably, many people wait until their spouse is at a breaking point of aggravation before booking a hearing test. We’ve seen first-hand that loads of problems could have been averted if hearing loss were resolved sooner.
3. Feeling left out
How confident and interactive can you really be if you can’t comprehend what others are saying?
Many people with hearing loss lose their self-esteem and sociability when it’s much 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 solitude.
It’s this experience of alienation—and missing out on social activities—that encourage people to grab the phone and book a hearing exam. And there are not many activities that hearing loss doesn’t influence in a negative way.
4. Being unproductive at work
We’ve heard several stories of people that come to their breaking point on the job. Quite often 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 stay 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 general health and well-being
And finally, people are becoming progressively mindful of the health hazards connected with hearing loss. While there are many ailments 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 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 wear hearing aids, let us know the reason you made a decision to schedule your first hearing test. Your response may end up helping someone in a similar situation to attain the rewards of better hearing sooner rather than later.