In the United States, roughly 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 enhance their life with better hearing decide 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 actually purchasing them—which is unfortunate, because for those that do choose to wear hearing aids, the outcomes are overwhelmingly positive.
Many studies have shown that wearing hearing aids improves relationships, enhances general physical and mental health, and even increases household income, as discovered by the Better Hearing Institute.
Unfortunately, 80 percent of those who could use hearing aids will never observe these benefits. And of those who will, it’s a shame that they have to wait such a long time.
The question is: if people are waiting 5-7 years before getting a hearing aid, what is eventually persuading them to do so? And if we understood the reasons, would it inspire us to address our own hearing loss quicker?
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 few 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 particularly difficult 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 begin avoiding the grandparents, and this offers a powerful motivator to book a hearing test.
2. Strained relationships
Communication is the basis of any healthy relationship, which is why hearing loss is so frustrating for both parties.
If you have hearing loss, you may think everyone else mumbles, but your partner probably thinks you talk too loud or “selectively listen.” This creates stress, and before you know it, you discover yourself in more arguments than normal.
Regretfully, many people wait until their spouse is at a breaking point of frustration before arranging a hearing test. We’ve witnessed first hand that plenty of problems could have been prevented if hearing loss were attended to earlier.
3. Feeling left out
How confident and involved can you really be if you can’t comprehend 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 takes many down a path of seclusion.
It’s this feeling of alienation—and missing out on social events—that prompt people to grab the phone and book a hearing test. And there are not many activities that hearing loss doesn’t influence in a damaging way.
4. Being unproductive at work
We’ve heard a myriad of stories of people that arrive at their breaking point in the office. Oftentimes 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 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 linked 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 general health and well-being
Last but not least, people are becoming progressively more cognizant of the health hazards connected with hearing loss. While there are many ailments associated with diminished 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, despite the fact that 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 made a decision to arrange 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.