In the United States, roughly 37.5 million adults have some degree of hearing loss. Yet according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), only 20 percent of those who could benefit from hearing aids actually use them. That implies that millions of Americans who could enhance their life with better hearing decide not to do so.
And that’s not all.
After being told that they will need hearing aids, people wait on average 5-7 years before actually purchasing them—which is unfortunate, because for those that do choose to wear hearing aids, the outcomes are overwhelmingly positive.
Several studies have demonstrated that using hearing aids improves relationships, improves general physical and mental health, and even increases household income, as discovered by the Better Hearing Institute.
Unfortunately, 80 percent of those who could use hearing aids will never enjoy these benefits. And of those who do, it’s a shame that they have to wait way too long.
The question is: if people are waiting 5-7 years before acquiring a hearing aid, what is eventually convincing them to do so? And if we knew the reasons, would it encourage us to deal with our own hearing loss quicker?
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 of times.
The thing about high-frequency hearing loss is that the sounds most difficult to hear are frequently higher-pitched. That makes the female voice and the voices of children particularly tough to understand.
Consequently, many people with hearing loss miss out on what their grandchildren are saying, or alternatively have to make them repeat themselves. Before too long, the grandkids start evading the grandparents, and this offers a strong motivator to arrange a hearing test.
2. Strained relationships
Communication is the basis of any healthy relationship, which is the reason hearing loss is so frustrating for both parties.
If you have hearing loss, you may think everybody else mumbles, but your partner probably feels you communicate too loud or “selectively listen.” This brings about stress, and before you know it, you find yourself in more arguments than normal.
Sadly, many people wait until their partner is at a breaking point of aggravation before scheduling a hearing test. We’ve witnessed first-hand that lots of problems could have been avoided if hearing loss were resolved sooner.
3. Feeling left out
How confident and involved can you really be if you can’t fully grasp what others are saying?
Many individuals with hearing loss lose their self-confidence and sociability when it’s much easier to avoid the scenario than it is to struggle to hear and understand what’s being said. This takes many down a road of isolation.
It’s this experience of solitude—and missing out on social events—that inspire people to grab the phone and book 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 several stories of people that come to their breaking point at work. Quite often they’re at a critical meeting and can’t hear their associates sitting across the table. They either have to interrupt the meeting to get people to speak louder or repeat themselves, or otherwise have to stay silent because they can’t follow along.
There’s a reason why wearing hearing aids is linked 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 mindful of the health hazards associated with hearing loss. While there are several ailments linked to impaired hearing, the most worrying 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 maintain their hearing.
What’s your reason?
The bottom line is that many people wait far too long to address their hearing loss, despite the fact that the majority of hearing aid users report 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 initial hearing test. Your response may result in helping someone in a similar circumstances to attain the rewards of better hearing sooner rather than later.