In the United States, about 37.5 million adults have some level 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 means that millions of Americans who could enhance their life with better hearing choose not to do so.
And that’s not all.
After being told that they require hearing aids, people wait on average 5-7 years before actually purchasing them—which is too bad, because for those that do decide to use hearing aids, the results are overwhelmingly positive.
Several studies have shown that using hearing aids improves relationships, enhances general physical and mental health, and even increases household income, as discovered by the Better Hearing Institute.
Regretfully, 80 percent of those who could use hearing aids will never enjoy these advantages. And of those who will, it’s a shame that they have to wait such a long time.
The question is: if people are holding out 5-7 years before acquiring a hearing aid, what is finally swaying them to do so? And if we understood the reasons, would it prompt us to deal with our own hearing loss faster?
With that in mind, we’ve gathered 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 few times.
The thing about high-frequency hearing loss is that the sounds most challenging to hear are often higher-pitched. That makes the female voice and the voices of children especially 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 begin evading the grandparents, and this offers a strong motivator to book 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 have hearing loss, you may think everyone else mumbles, but your partner probably feels you communicate too loudly or “selectively listen.” This creates tension, and before you know it, you find yourself in more arguments than normal.
Regretfully, many people wait until their partner 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 averted if hearing loss were addressed sooner.
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 self-esteem and sociability when it’s much easier to avoid the scenario than it is to struggle to hear and comprehend what’s being said. This leads many down a road of seclusion.
It’s this feeling of solitude—and missing out on social activities—that encourage people to pick up the phone and schedule a hearing test. And there are not many activities that hearing loss doesn’t affect in a negative way.
4. Being unproductive at work
We’ve heard a great deal of stories of people that attain their breaking point at the office. Commonly 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 talk 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 self-confident and efficient at work.
5. Concern about overall health and well-being
And finally, people are becoming gradually more cognizant of the health hazards associated with hearing loss. While there are several ailments linked to impaired hearing, the most worrying relationship 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 far too long to deal with their hearing loss, even though the majority of hearing aid users state that their lives have been enhanced with better hearing.
If you use hearing aids, let us know the reason you made a decision to arrange your initial hearing test. Your response may end up helping someone in a similar situation to achieve the benefits of better hearing sooner rather than later.