In the United States, about 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 improve their life with better hearing choose not to do so.
And that’s not all.
After being told that they need hearing aids, people wait on average 5-7 years before even purchasing them—which is unfortunate, because for those that do choose to wear hearing aids, the results are overwhelmingly positive.
Several studies have shown that wearing hearing aids improves relationships, improves general physical and mental health, and even increases household income, as reported by the Better Hearing Institute.
Unfortunately, 80 percent of those who could use hearing aids will never see these benefits. And of those who do, it’s a shame that they have to wait so 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 collected 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 challenging to hear are generally higher-pitched. That makes the female voice and the voices of children especially tough to understand.
For that reason, 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 incentive to book a hearing test.
2. Strained relationships
Communication is the basis of any healthy relationship, which is why hearing loss is so frustrating for both parties.
If you suffer from hearing loss, you might think everyone 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.
Regrettably, many people wait until their spouse is at a breaking point of frustration before booking a hearing test. We’ve seen first hand that lots of trouble could have been avoided if hearing loss were resolved earlier.
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-esteem 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 leads many people down a path of solitude.
It’s this feeling of isolation—and missing out on social events—that encourage people to grab the phone and book a hearing exam. And there are very few activities that hearing loss doesn’t affect in a unfavourable way.
4. Being unproductive at work
We’ve heard a great deal of stories of people that reach their breaking point at the job. Frequently they’re at a critical meeting and can’t hear their co-workers sitting across the table. They either have to disrupt 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 using hearing aids is associated with higher household income in those with hearing loss. If you have better hearing, you’re simply more confident and effective at work.
5. Concern about general health and well-being
And finally, people are becoming gradually more mindful of the health hazards connected with hearing loss. While there are several ailments tied to 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 sustain their hearing.
What’s your reason?
The bottom line is that most people wait far too long to attend to their hearing loss, despite the fact that the majority of hearing aid users state that their lives have been improved with better hearing.
If you wear 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 situation to attain the rewards of better hearing sooner rather than later.