In the US, 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 implies 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 require hearing aids, people wait an average of 5-7 years before actually purchasing them—which is unfortunate, because for those that do choose to wear hearing aids, the results are overwhelmingly favorable.
Many studies have demonstrated that wearing hearing aids enhances relationships, enhances general physical and mental health, and even increases household income, as reported 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 swaying them to do so? And if we knew the reasons, would it motivate us to address our own hearing loss quicker?
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 couple of times.
The thing about high-frequency hearing loss is that the sounds most difficult to hear are typically higher-pitched. That makes the female voice and the voices of children particularly difficult to understand.
For that reason, 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 avoiding the grandparents, and this offers a powerful incentive to book a hearing test.
2. Strained relationships
Communication is the cornerstone of any healthy relationship, which is why hearing loss is so frustrating for both individuals.
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 stress, and before long, you find yourself in more arguments than normal.
Unfortunately, many people wait until their partner is at a breaking point of frustration before booking a hearing test. We’ve witnessed first hand that lots of problems could have been avoided if hearing loss were dealt with 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 confidence and sociability when it’s much easier to avoid the scenario than it is to struggle to hear and comprehend what’s being said. This leads many people down a path of seclusion.
It’s this experience of isolation—and missing out on social activities—that inspire people to pick up the phone and schedule a hearing exam. And there are not many activities that hearing loss doesn’t influence in a negative way.
4. Being unproductive at work
We’ve heard countless stories of people that come to their breaking point at the office. Oftentimes they’re at an important 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 stay silent because they can’t follow along.
There’s a reason why wearing hearing aids is linked 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 total health and well-being
And finally, people are becoming progressively more conscious of the health risks connected with hearing loss. While there are several conditions linked with 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 most people wait far too long to address their hearing loss, even though the majority of hearing aid users report that their lives have been enhanced with better hearing.
If you use hearing aids, let us know the reason you decided to schedule your first hearing test. Your response may result in helping someone in a similar circumstances to achieve the benefits of better hearing sooner rather than later.