In the United States, about 37.5 million adults have some degree of hearing loss. Yet according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), merely 20 percent of those who could benefit from hearing aids actually use them. That means that millions of Americans who could improve their life with better hearing decide not to do so.
And that’s not all.
After being shown that they need hearing aids, people wait on average 5-7 years before even purchasing them—which is too bad, because for those that do choose to wear hearing aids, the outcomes are overwhelmingly favorable.
Many studies have demonstrated that using hearing aids enhances relationships, boosts general physical and mental health, and even boosts household income, as reported by the Better Hearing Institute.
Regretfully, 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 such a long time.
The question is: if people are holding out 5-7 years before getting a hearing aid, what is eventually convincing them to do so? And if we knew the reasons, would it motivate us to deal with our own hearing loss faster?
With that in mind, we’ve compiled 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 times.
The thing about high-frequency hearing loss is that the sounds most difficult to hear are many times 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 begin avoiding the grandparents, and this provides a strong motivator to book a hearing test.
2. Strained relationships
Communication is the foundation of any healthy relationship, which is the reason hearing loss is so frustrating for both parties.
If you suffer from hearing loss, you may think everyone else mumbles, but your spouse probably thinks you speak too loudly or “selectively listen.” This produces stress, and before you know it, you find yourself in more arguments than normal.
Regrettably, many people wait until their partner is at a breaking point of frustration before scheduling a hearing test. We’ve witnessed first-hand that plenty of trouble could have been avoided if hearing loss were dealt with sooner.
3. Feeling left out
How confident and interactive 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 easier to avoid the scenario 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 experience of isolation—and missing out on social activities—that inspire people to pick up the phone and book a hearing exam. And there are very few activities that hearing loss doesn’t impact in a detrimental way.
4. Being unproductive at work
We’ve heard a great deal of stories of people that reach their breaking point on the job. Quite often they’re at an important meeting and can’t hear their co-workers 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 using hearing aids is associated with higher household income in those with hearing loss. If you have better hearing, you’re simply more self-confident and productive at work.
5. Concern about total health and well-being
And finally, people are becoming progressively aware of the health risks connected with hearing loss. While there are several ailments associated with impaired 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 most people wait too long to deal with their hearing loss, even though 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 arrange your initial hearing test. Your response may end up helping someone in a similar position to attain the benefits of better hearing sooner rather than later.