In the United States, 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 implies that millions of Americans who could improve their life with better hearing decide not to do so.
And that’s not all.
After being told 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 choose to use hearing aids, the outcomes are overwhelmingly favorable.
Many studies have demonstrated that wearing hearing aids enhances relationships, improves 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 observe these advantages. And of those who do, it’s a shame that they have to wait way too long.
The question is: if people are delaying 5-7 years before acquiring a hearing aid, what is finally persuading them to do so? And if we understood the reasons, would it prompt us to address our own hearing loss faster?
With that in mind, we’ve compiled 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 challenging to hear are generally higher-pitched. That makes the female voice and the voices of children particularly 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. Over time, the grandkids start avoiding the grandparents, and this offers a strong motivator to book 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 parties.
If you have hearing loss, you might think everybody else mumbles, but your spouse probably feels you speak too loud or “selectively listen.” This creates tension, and before long, you discover 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 plenty 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 fully grasp what others are saying?
Many people with hearing loss lose their self-confidence and sociability when it’s much easier to avoid the situation than it is to struggle to hear and understand what’s being said. This takes many down a road of solitude.
It’s this experience of isolation—and missing out on social events—that inspire people to grab the phone and schedule a hearing exam. And there are not many activities that hearing loss doesn’t affect in a harmful way.
4. Being unproductive at work
We’ve heard a great number of stories of people that reach their breaking point at the office. Quite often 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 talk 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 associated 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 total health and well-being
Last but most certainly not least, people are becoming progressively conscious of the health risks connected with hearing loss. While there are several ailments associated with impaired 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 many people wait too long to attend to their hearing loss, even though the majority of hearing aid users report that their lives have been enhanced with better hearing.
If you use hearing aids, let us know the reason you decided to schedule your first hearing test. Your response may end up helping someone in a similar circumstances to achieve the benefits of better hearing sooner rather than later.