In the United States, about 37.5 million adults have some amount 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 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 shown that they need 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 use hearing aids, the outcomes are overwhelmingly positive.
Many studies have determined that using hearing aids improves relationships, improves 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 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 acquiring a hearing aid, what is finally swaying them to do so? And if we knew the reasons, would it motivate us to address our own hearing loss faster?
With that in mind, we’ve compiled 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 difficult to hear are generally higher-pitched. That makes the female voice and the voices of children especially hard 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 start avoiding the grandparents, and this provides a powerful motivator to schedule a hearing test.
2. Strained relationships
Communication is the basis of any healthy relationship, which is the reason hearing loss is so frustrating for both individuals.
If you suffer from hearing loss, you may think everybody else mumbles, but your partner probably feels you speak too loud or “selectively listen.” This brings about stress, and before you know it, you find 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 witnessed first hand that loads of problems could have been prevented if hearing loss were taken care of earlier.
3. Feeling left out
How confident and interactive can you really be if you can’t comprehend what others are saying?
Many people with hearing loss lose their self-confidence and sociability when it’s 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 isolation.
It’s this experience of seclusion—and missing out on social activities—that encourage 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 unfavorable way.
4. Being unproductive at work
We’ve heard a great number of stories of people that come to their breaking point at work. Commonly they’re at a critical meeting and can’t hear their associates sitting across the table. They either have to disrupt the meeting to get people to communicate louder or repeat themselves, or otherwise have to remain silent because they can’t follow along.
There’s a reason why wearing 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 overall health and well-being
And finally, people are becoming progressively conscious of the health hazards associated with hearing loss. While there are several conditions 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 sustain their hearing.
What’s your reason?
The bottom line is that most people wait too long to address 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 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 circumstances to attain the rewards of better hearing sooner rather than later.