In the United States, approximately 37.5 million adults have some level of hearing loss. Yet according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), merely 20 percent of those who could reap the benefits of hearing aids actually use them. That suggests 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 will need hearing aids, people wait an average of 5-7 years before actually purchasing them—which is unfortunate, because for those that do decide to use hearing aids, the results are overwhelmingly positive.
Many studies have demonstrated that using hearing aids enhances relationships, enhances general physical and mental health, and even increases household income, as reported by the Better Hearing Institute.
Regrettably, 80 percent of those who could use hearing aids will never witness these advantages. And of those who do, it’s a shame that they have to wait such a long time.
The question is: if people are delaying 5-7 years before getting a hearing aid, what is finally convincing them to do so? And if we knew the reasons, would it inspire us to deal with our own hearing loss sooner?
With that in mind, we’ve compiled 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 couple of 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 alternatively have to make them repeat themselves. Before too long, the grandkids start avoiding the grandparents, and this provides a strong motivator to arrange 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 may think everyone else mumbles, but your partner probably thinks you speak too loud or “selectively listen.” This produces stress, and before you know it, you discover yourself in more arguments than normal.
Unfortunately, many people wait until their spouse is at a breaking point of frustration before scheduling a hearing test. We’ve witnessed first-hand that loads of trouble could have been avoided if hearing loss were dealt with earlier.
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 leads many down a path of isolation.
It’s this experience of seclusion—and missing out on social events—that prompt people to grab the phone and schedule a hearing exam. And there are very few activities that hearing loss doesn’t influence in a undesirable way.
4. Being unproductive at work
We’ve heard an abundance of stories of people that arrive at their breaking point at the workplace. Oftentimes 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 talk 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 self-confident and effective at work.
5. Concern about overall health and well-being
And finally, people are becoming gradually more mindful of the health risks associated with hearing loss. While there are many ailments linked 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 retain their hearing.
What’s your reason?
The bottom line is that many people wait far too long to deal with their hearing loss, despite the fact that 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 schedule your first hearing test. Your response may end up helping someone in a similar position to attain the rewards of better hearing sooner rather than later.