In the US, roughly 37.5 million adults have some amount 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 means 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 will 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 use hearing aids, the results are overwhelmingly favorable.
Many studies have determined that wearing hearing aids improves relationships, enhances 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 enjoy these advantages. And of those who will, 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 eventually persuading them to do so? And if we knew the reasons, would it prompt 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 of times.
The thing about high-frequency hearing loss is that the sounds most challenging to hear are often higher-pitched. That makes the female voice and the voices of children especially difficult to understand.
As a result, many people with hearing loss miss out on what their grandchildren are saying, or otherwise have to make them repeat themselves. Over time, the grandkids begin evading the grandparents, and this offers a strong 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 might think everyone else mumbles, but your spouse probably feels you communicate too loudly or “selectively listen.” This produces tension, and before long, you find yourself in more arguments than normal.
Sadly, many people wait until their spouse is at a breaking point of aggravation before scheduling a hearing test. We’ve seen first-hand that lots of problems could have been avoided if hearing loss were taken care of earlier.
3. Feeling left out
How confident and interactive can you really be if you can’t understand what others are saying?
Many individuals with hearing loss lose their self-esteem and sociability when it’s easier to avoid the situation than it is to struggle to hear and understand what’s being said. This takes many people down a path of isolation.
It’s this experience of seclusion—and missing out on social activities—that inspire people to grab the phone and schedule a hearing test. And there are very few activities that hearing loss doesn’t impact in a unfavorable way.
4. Being unproductive at work
We’ve heard an abundance of stories of people that reach their breaking point in the office. Quite often they’re at a critical meeting and can’t hear their colleagues sitting across the table. They either have to interrupt the meeting to get people to talk louder or repeat themselves, or otherwise have to remain 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 efficient at work.
5. Concern about overall health and well-being
And finally, people are becoming gradually more conscious of the health hazards associated with hearing loss. While there are several ailments tied to 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 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 made a decision to schedule your first hearing test. Your response may result in helping someone in a similar position to achieve the benefits of better hearing sooner rather than later.