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 suggests that millions of Americans who could enhance their life with better hearing decide not to do so.
And that’s not all.
After being told that they require 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 wear hearing aids, the results are overwhelmingly positive.
Many studies have demonstrated that using hearing aids improves relationships, improves general physical and mental health, and even boosts household income, as discovered by the Better Hearing Institute.
Regretfully, 80 percent of those who could use hearing aids will never observe these benefits. And of those who do, it’s a shame that they have to wait way too long.
The question is: if people are waiting 5-7 years before getting a hearing aid, what is finally convincing them to do so? And if we understood the reasons, would it motivate us to deal with our own hearing loss faster?
With that in mind, we’ve collected 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.
As a result, 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 evading the grandparents, and this offers a powerful 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 people.
If you have hearing loss, you may think everybody else mumbles, but your partner probably thinks you communicate too loud or “selectively listen.” This produces tension, and before you know it, you discover yourself in more arguments than normal.
Regrettably, many people wait until their spouse is at a breaking point of frustration before booking a hearing test. We’ve witnessed first-hand that lots of trouble could have been avoided if hearing loss were resolved sooner.
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 scenario than it is to struggle to hear and comprehend what’s being said. This leads many down a path of isolation.
It’s this feeling of seclusion—and missing out on social activities—that encourage people to pick up the phone and schedule a hearing test. And there are not many activities that hearing loss doesn’t influence in a unfavourable way.
4. Being unproductive at work
We’ve heard countless stories of people that reach their breaking point on the job. Commonly they’re at an important meeting and can’t hear their associates sitting across the table. They either have to interrupt 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 using hearing aids is correlated 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 mindful of the health risks connected with hearing loss. While there are many conditions linked 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 maintain their hearing.
What’s your reason?
The bottom line is that many people wait far too long to address their hearing loss, despite the fact that the majority of hearing aid users state that their lives have been improved with better hearing.
If you wear hearing aids, let us know the reason you made a decision to schedule your initial hearing test. Your response may end up helping someone in a similar circumstances to attain the rewards of better hearing sooner rather than later.