In the United States, approximately 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 reap the benefits of hearing aids actually use them. That means that millions of Americans who could enhance their life with better hearing decide not to do so.
And that’s not all.
After being shown that they require hearing aids, people wait an average of 5-7 years before even purchasing them—which is too bad, because for those that do decide to wear hearing aids, the outcomes are overwhelmingly favorable.
Many studies have found that wearing hearing aids improves relationships, enhances 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 see these benefits. And of those who will, 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 finally persuading them to do so? And if we knew the reasons, would it encourage 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 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 few times.
The thing about high-frequency hearing loss is that the sounds most difficult to hear are usually higher-pitched. That makes the female voice and the voices of children especially tough to understand.
As a result, many people with hearing loss miss out on what their grandchildren are saying, or alternatively have to make them repeat themselves. After a while, the grandkids start evading the grandparents, and this provides a powerful motivator 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 people.
If you have hearing loss, you might think everyone else mumbles, but your spouse probably feels you communicate too loudly or “selectively listen.” This produces tension, and before you know it, you discover 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 seen first-hand that a lot of trouble could have been prevented if hearing loss were dealt with sooner.
3. Feeling left out
How confident and involved can you really be if you can’t understand what others are saying?
Many individuals with hearing loss lose their self-confidence and sociability when it’s easier to avoid the situation than it is to struggle to hear and comprehend what’s being said. This takes many people down a road of isolation.
It’s this feeling of seclusion—and missing out on social events—that prompt people to pick up 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 an abundance of stories of people that attain their breaking point at the workplace. Frequently they’re at an important 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 correlated 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 total health and well-being
Last but most certainly not least, people are becoming progressively conscious of the health hazards connected with hearing loss. While there are several conditions 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 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 improved with better hearing.
If you use hearing aids, let us know the reason you made a decision 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.