Are hearing aids really worth the money? It’s a question many people experiencing hearing loss ask when they look at the price tag of hearing aids. However, when you buy a house you don’t see the price and say, “well being homeless is cheaper!” What’s more, if you look beyond the price tag, you might find that hearing aids are an all-around wise financial decision.
When buying big-ticket items like this you have to ask yourself, “what do I get out of having hearing aids and what’s the expense of not having them?” As it turns out, there is a financial cost to deciding not to get hearing aids. These costs should factor into your decision as well. Consider some reasons why getting hearing aids will save you money in the long run.
Cheap Hearing Aids Cost More Than You Think
If you have shopped around for hearing assistance devices, you know that there are cheap, seemly more affordable ones out there. In fact, if you looked on the Internet, you might get a hearing aid for less money than you spend on dinner.
The problem with over-the-counter hearing devices is you get what you pay for in quality. What you are actually buying is not a hearing aid but an amplification device similar to earbuds or headphones. All they do is turn the volume up on the sound around you, including background noise.
You lose out on one of the best features hearing aids offer, customized programming. Having your hearing aid tuned it to correct your specific hearing loss can prevent your hearing loss from getting worse and provide you with exceptional hearing quality.
Most over-the-counter hearing aids run on equally cheap batteries, too. What this means is you can expect to shell out money for batteries regularly. If you wear the amplification device daily, you might end up replacing the battery once or twice a day. The battery is likely to fail when you most need it, too, so plan on carrying lots of spares around wherever you go. When you add up the money you pay for the replacement batteries, are you really saving anything?
Higher quality hearing aids, on the other hand, have better technology and use less juice. Some even come with rechargeable batteries, eliminating the need for regular replacements.
Whether you decide to struggle with low-quality hearing aids or go without them entirely, it’s a choice that will cost you at work. A 2013 study published in The Hearing Journal reports that adults with hearing loss make less money – as much as 25 percent less, and are more likely to be unemployed.
Why? There are a number of factors involved, but the most common sense explanation is that communication is critical in almost every industry. You have to hear what your boss says to deliver results. You must be able to listen to customers to help them. If you’ spend the conversation trying to figure out what words a person is saying, you’re likely to miss out on the overall message. Put simply, if you can’t engage in conversations, it is difficult to excel at work.
The struggle to hear on the job takes a toll on you physically, as well. Even if you manage to get through a day with subpar hearing, the anxiety that comes with wondering if you heard something right and the energy to hear just enough will leave you exhausted and stressed out. Stress impacts:
- Your immune system
- Your ability to sleep
- Your relationships
- Your quality of life
These all have the potential to affect your work performance and lower your income as a result.
More Trips to the ER
There is a safety concern that comes with hearing loss. Without proper hearing aids, it becomes dangerous for you to cross the street or drive a car. How can you avoid something if you can’t hear it? What about environmental safety systems like a tornado warning or smoke alarm?
For some jobs, hearing is a must for worksite safety like construction sites or manufacturing plants. That makes going without hearing aids not only a safety hazard but something that can limit your career options.
Financial safety comes into play here, too. Did the cashier say you owed 55 dollars or 75? What did the salesperson say was the features on the dishwasher you are looking at and do you need them? Maybe the lower cost dishwasher is just as good, but it is hard to tell if you can’t hear the clerk explain the difference.
One of the most critical issues that come with hearing loss is the increased risk of dementia. The New England Journal of Medicine reports that Alzheimer’s disease costs individuals more than 56,000 dollars a year. Dementia accounts for 11 billion dollars in Medicare expense annually.
Hearing loss is a known risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. It is estimated that a person with severe, untreated hearing loss increases their risk of brain deterioration by five times. A moderate hearing loss comes with three times the risk of dementia, and even a mild hearing problem doubles your chances. Hearing aids bring the risk back to normal.
There is little doubt that a hearing aid will set you back a bit. When you look at all the problems that come with not having one, though, it’s clearly a good financial decision.